Dr. Phil McGraw, who hosts his own talk show, responded to outrage over a tweet he posted and then deleted Tuesday about sexual assault.
"If a girl is drunk, is it OK to have sex with her? Reply yes or no to @drphil #teensaccused," the tweet said. (You can see a screenshot of the tweet here.)
On Wednesday, Dr. Phil's show issued a statement to Deadspin about the tweet:
This Tweet was intended to evoke discussion leading into a very serious show topic based upon a recent news story, hence the #teensaccused label. 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 can not 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. 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.
After the tweet sparked controversy, former college sexual assault activist Carmen Rios started a Change.org petition encouraging supporters to call on McGraw to host a show to educate his viewers on assault prevention. The petition gained over 1,000 signatures in roughly 24 hours.