Demand that Television Personalities Apologize for Insulting the Mentally Ill

Target: Phil McGraw and Brian Williams

Goal: Apologize for insensitivity and insulting words about the mentally ill

Though most Americans are now gradually becoming more sensitive and understanding towards individuals with mental illnesses, Dr. Phil of CBS and Brian Williams of NBC Nightly News recently made some comments about mentally ill individuals that shocked viewers with their insensitivity and insulting manner.

In replying to the letter of a 19-year-old girl, Dr. Phil dismissed her belief that she was insane by saying that insane people “suck on rocks and bark at the moon” and telling the girl to “get real.”

Similarly, Brian Williams of NBC recently made derogatory and stereotypical comments toward the mentally ill, calling Ariel Castro—the kidnapper and rapist from Cleveland—“the face of mental illness.”

Most mentally ill people do not suck rocks, bark at the moon, or engage in violent criminal behavior like Ariel Castro. Thus, Dr. Phil and Brian Williams’ statements do not apply to most mentally ill individuals, and serve only to intensify the discriminatory behavior and fear towards people suffering from mental illnesses.

Please sign this petition to demand that Dr. Phil and Brian Williams make public apologies for their ignorant and insensitive comments toward mentally ill individuals.


To Dr. Phil and Brian Williams:

Recent comments that you have made on your shows about individuals with mental illnesses were insensitive, cruel, and derogatory.   Instead of encouraging people to become helpful and understanding toward these unfortunate people, your comments served to initiate discrimination and fear by asserting that these people “suck on rocks and bark at the moon” or that they are violent criminals like Ariel Castro. These claims are completely untrue and are not tolerated by viewers.

Please publicly apologize for making these ignorant and cruel comments about those with mental illnesses. They are a part of our society and deserve to be treated with care so that they will experience faster recoveries.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credits: Chung Chu via Flickr

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  1. Ms Rennie Miller says:

    AS someone who suffers from mental illness, I have enough obstacles to deal with. Don’t give me more.

  2. Mitchell Dormont says:

    Whatever Brian Williams is, professionally, and I expect he is, at bottom, a TV actor doing the news, Dr. Phil, to my knowledge, is a psychologist, and as such his comment, as portrayed here, is utterly unprofessional, as well as just asinine.

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