TV Personality Dr. Ian Smith Alleges That ‘Dr. Phil’s’ Show and Production Firm Have Disregarded Diversity, Citing Racism – Your Black World
By Ryan Steal
According to a lawsuit filed by TV personality Dr. Ian Smith, ViacomCBS and Stage 29 Productions allow race discrimination problems to go unaddressed.
Smith, a graduate of Harvard College, Columbia University, and University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, is a former presenter of the famous daytime show “The Doctors.” In a lawsuit filed in New York with the State Division of Human Rights and the United States Department of Justice, Smith claimed that he was subjected to racial discrimination.
In addition, he claims that program producers disregarded his concerns about diversity among employees and visitors, and he has filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
“‘The Doctors’ show has an extremely hostile work environment,” Smith said to The Los Angeles Times. “It has a tremendous disregard for diversity and it is extremely abusive to those who speak up with concerns about behavior or about the culture of inequity.”
Jay McGraw, son of “Dr.” McGraw, owns the syndicated show, which has aired for 13 seasons. Phil McGraw is the host of the show, and Stage 29 Productions is his other company. Smith took over as presenter of the show in 2013, but things were far from perfect. Smith alleges that when he told the producer about the need for more black guests, he was told, “We have you as the presenter. That’s what counts.”
He also claimed that other Black co-hosts were underpaid in comparison to their white counterparts. He expressed his worries to the show’s producers, and as a result, he was not requested to return till 2020.
Patty Ciano, executive producer of “The Doctors,” allegedly approached the renowned novelist about returning to the program to enhance diversity as the country grappled with its social crisis. McGraw contacted him again with the same offer, stating that his return would be an “essential step for the program to take.” Smith decided to return, believing that things on the show would be different this time.
While Smith claims that he “believes in second chances,” he returned to a program with 23 producers, out of whom only three were African Americans. There was also no explanation for the lack of diversification in the show, although diversity had been one of his primary concerns.
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