After Mindy McCready's Suicide, Dr. Drew's Death Toll Has Critics Charging Exploitation
After the news broke late Sunday that troubled country singer Mindy McCready had taken her own life, Dr. Drew Pinsky went on television to emphasize that the singer had a long history of substance abuse and mental health issues.
Yes, he said, McCready had been on a patient on his show Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew, but as he added later in a statement, "Unfortunately it seems that Mindy did not sustain her treatment."
That mea culpa has left some unconvinced of Pinsky's intentions and the efficacy of his treatment, now that five former celebrity patients, who had their lives' lowest moments broadcast on television, have died.
" 'You're safe here. It's Alcoholics Anonymous,' said Dr. Drew to a sick, vulnerable person for the entertainment of millions of viewers," Danny Zuker, an executive producer of Modern Family, tweeted Tuesday. "Pardon the rant, but five people who Dr. Drew 'helped' by putting them on his show are dead. Imagine if Survivor killed even one person."
Pinsky's defenders say that he takes on the most troubled of addicts, and the odds against the return to health of someone with such deep substance abuse problems are stacked. Zuker, though, condemns Pinsky's show as the wrong medicine for the sick.
"Not saying Dr. Drew killed these people," he tweeted. "He simply exploited them when they most needed real help."
Pop-rock singer Richard Marx, who first seven singles all made the Top 5, tweeted: "I think Dr. Drew Pinsky should change his name to Kevorkian. Same results." Although he later deleted the tweet, he stood behind his criticism of Pinsky. "I went too far with the Kevorkian crack. It is, however, my opinion that what Dr. D does is exploitation, and his TV track record is not good."
On the other hand, Eugene Kovar, the grandfather of Joey Kovar, a former Celebrity Rehab patient who died in August, told ABC that his family's tragedy was not Pinsky's fault.
"I think it's a good place if you just keep staying there until you get cured," he said. "They were trying to help him."