Monday, April 6, 2015

The Dark Side of Harpo Productions

The Dark Side of Harpo Productions

by Angela Smith, HEAL Coordinator


Oprah Winfrey and Harpo Productions are clearly promoted as the heroes of daytime television.  But, for those who care about human rights, Harpo Productions is far from heroic.


Oprah Winfrey's own show, "The Oprah Winfrey Show" began airing in 1986.  During that time, Oprah interviewed and promoted multiple residential treatment facilities for youth including: Young House Family Services of Iowa (sources: and, Hazelden Foundation (source:, and many more.  Hazelden, IECA, and more partner and endorse nearly every program on HEAL's watch-list of fraud and abuse.  (Source:  This includes Benchmark, Aspen Education Group, and many more. 


Harpo Productions' shows have included: The Oprah Winfrey Show (definitely put kids in abusive programs), Dr. Oz (in trouble for fraud with Congress and lost his show--source:, Rachael Ray Show (which regularly features Hazelden representatives and Dr. Phil as a guests), and of course, Dr. Phil McGraw, the "king" of daytime enrollments of children into fraudulent and abusive facilities.  (See:


Not only does Oprah produce television programs that place kids in fraudulent and abusive programs, she opened her own in Africa where ongoing reports of rape and physical abuse have surfaced over the last decade.  (Source:,28804,1939460_1939452_1939416,00.html)


Dr. Phil McGraw is not a licensed psychologist.  You can verify that he is not licensed here: and here:  So, it is misleading that the show is even called "Dr. Phil".  Complaints filed against him in TX from former clients include inappropriate contact with a minor.  And, after the scandal broke in December, 2005 regarding his referrals to abusive facilities, he "voluntarily retired" his license for good. 


In 2005, HEAL and other youth advocacy organizations worked diligently to expose Phil McGraw's fraud and abuse.  And, we contacted Harpo Productions, the "Dr. Phil Show", and Oprah Winfrey asking they stop referring to programs such as Provo Canyon School and Aspen Education Group facilities.  Dozens of victims e-mailed Harpo, Oprah, and Dr. Phil and tried to post their experiences on Phil McGraw's message boards on his show's website.  Our messages received no replies and our posts were censored.  It was quite clear then that Phil McGraw, Oprah, and Harpo Productions were not interested in the truth, but, only in their own greed.  And, right now Dr. Phil is a named co-defendant in a lawsuit filed against Island View RTC in Utah.  See: 


Even if teen liberty and children's rights and welfare are not your primary cause of choice, please think about this and other human rights abuses supported by and through Harpo Productions.  "O", Oprah's magazine, promotes Hazelden (see: and institutionalizing and traumatizing suicidal youth (see:  In addition, Oprah promotes products that violate child exploitation and labor laws.  See:  The truth is out there and available for those who wish to be informed consumers.  Please join HEAL in the continuing boycott of these charlatans, frauds, and human rights violators!  Do not watch nor promote Dr. Phil  or any Harpo Productions' show if you care about human rights and teen liberty!