A Twitter question posted for the "Dr. Phil" show early on Wednesday for an upcoming program on teen sex and drinking provoked much anger from his followers.
The question, which was deleted later in the day, asked: "If a girl is drunk, is it OK to have sex with her? Reply yes or no to @drphil #teensaccused."
But Phil McGraw's Twitter followers expressed outrage that the talk-show host might be suggesting that it is permissible to have sex with someone without consent, the Los Angeles Times
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"This tweet was intended to evoke discussion leading into a very serious show topic based upon a recent news story, hence the #teensaccused label," a representative of the show said in a statement later on Wednesday. "It was a poll question, not a statement or a joke.
"As he has maintained over many years, Dr. Phil believes that the position of those incapacitated in any fashion — be it drugs, alcohol, age or mental illness — cannot and do not have the capacity to give their consent to anything, especially sex, which could have life-changing repercussions.
"This was a research post in preparation for a show, not a personal post, and Dr. Phil deleted it the second he saw it," the statement continued. "It was clearly ill-advised. We sincerely apologize that it suggested anything other than what was intended, data-gathering.
"As you can imagine, Dr. Phil is very upset that this happened."
Meanwhile, Washington sexual-assault activist Carmen Rios began a petition drive on Change.org
asking McGraw to "publicly announce that he will produce and air a show that centers on survivors' voices and educates the public about the true definition of rape and sexual assault, as well as how to prevent it."
The petition so far has more than 1,500 signatures.
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