Dr. Phil McGraw and CBS are being sued by a woman who claims she was publicly humiliated on the show for her mental illness, all in the name of good television.
According to court documents obtained by The Blast, Kaden Mahaffa claims she taped an appearance on the show with her boyfriend in 2017. She claims the episode was supposed to be about her boyfriend’s alleged abuse at the hands of his mother and grandmother.
Mahaffa says she has struggled with mental health issues since she was a child. She says during the course of the pre-interview process for the show, she told producers she “believed that she possessed various supernatural powers, including the ability to communicate with the dead, read people’s minds, see with X-ray vision, and intuitively write ancient languages, among other things.”
“Any reasonable person,” the lawsuit states, “let alone a clinical psychologist like Defendant McGraw — would immediately recognize that Ms. Mahaffa was a mentally-ill individual in crisis, not someone to be exploited on a national TV show.”
Nevertheless (as you can see below), Mahaffa claims the show deviated from the plan to discuss her boyfriend’s issues and instead ridiculed her for the sake of good television.
She claims the studio audience “laughed and jeered” at her, leaving her “to suffer humiliation as a result.”
In her lawsuit, Mahaffa describes Dr. Phil as “a powerful Hollywood celebrity who uses his fame and credibility as a mental health professional to gain the trust of mentally-ill psychiatric patients, only to turn around and publicly humiliate them for the sake of good television ratings and advertising dollars.”
She is suing McGraw personally, as well as his production company and CBS, seeking unspecified damages.
The Blast reached out to the show for comment — so far, no word back.