Todd Herzog won Survivor: China in 2007, and since his win, the openly gay reality star has struggled with alcoholism. In 2013, he appeared on The Dr. Phil Show to get help for his addiction issues. But in a new interview Herzog claims before the Dr. Phil episode taped, his dressing room included a bottle of vodka and a Dr. Phil employee gave him Xanax.
On the episode, Herzog had to be frogmarched to his chair because he was so drunk. Dr. Phil even said on camera, “I’ve never talked to a guest who was closer to death.” Meanwhile, Herzog alleges it was the Dr. Phil Show staff that put him so “close to death.”
Herzog spoke with STAT, an online health magazine from the Boston Globe about his appearance. He says he was sober when he arrived at the studio. After dropping off his father who would also appear on the show, Herzog was taken to his dressing room. There he found a full bottle of Smirnoff vodka, which he drank. The Xanax was handed to him to “calm his nerves.”
Herzog’s father, Glen, confirmed to STAT that Herzog was indeed sober when he arrived at the studio.
Onstage, Herzog said, “Today, I had an entire bottle, like a liter, of vodka,” and blew a .263 when Dr. Phil administered a breathalyzer test. That’s over three times the legal limit. What’s even scarier about Herzog’s allegations is that not only does he say The Dr. Phil Show provided that bottle he drank, but alcohol and Xanax can be a deadly combination. The rapper Lil Peep died last month of a Xanax overdose, though Peep had no alcohol in his system.
Todd Herzog is not the only person to accuse The Dr. Phil Show of being reckless with its guests’ health. Jordan Smith appeared on the show in 2012 for help with her heroin addiction. When Smith started going through withdrawls, producers had no medical assistance for her. Instead, the Smiths were directed to where they could go buy some heroin from a street dealer.
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Another woman who appeared on Dr. Phil was also taken to shoot heroin before her on-camera appearance. Joelle King-Parrish told STAT about her daughter Kaitlin’s appearance on the show. Kaitlin was addicted to heroin and six months pregnant. The King-Parrishes assumed there would be medical supervision, but when they flew to Los Angeles to tape the show, Kaitlin went into withdrawal. When Joelle, herself a registered nurse, called the show for help, they told her to “take care of it,” so they went to the hospital.
But Joelle says they left the hospital after four hours without receiving treatment. Though a Dr. Phil producer texted to say Kaitlin should stay at the hospital, Kaitlin refused, and they arrived at the studio. There, a staffer along with Kaitlin and Joelle got into a cab so Kaitlin could find a heroin dealer. The staffer shot video, which was aired on the show, and Joelle says Kaitlin was gone for a half-hour while she shot up.
Herzog reports that he’s sober and has since reconnected with friends and family. Unfortunately, Jordan and Kaitlin weren’t as lucky. Jordan went to treatment but didn’t get well. As for Kaitlin, today she’s homeless and was recently admitted to the hospital for liver failure.