It's hard to imagine anything that someone like Dr. Phil could say that would still shock some people, but apparently there is.
Followers of the TV doc were left speechless by a seemingly non sequitur tweet posted to the talkshow host's official account yesterday.
"If a girl is drunk, is it OK to have sex with her?," the account's handler asked the feed's million-plus followers. "Reply yes or no to @drphil #teenaccused."
While many had themselves a hardy laugh pretending it was Dr. Phil himself seeking advice from fans while on a night out, others didn't find the question quite so funny.
Using the hashtag #DrPhilQuestions, several critics responded to McGraw's inquiry with similar "dilemmas" of their own:
If a woman has an opinion that differs from yours, should you assume she has her period? #drphilquestions— shannonwoodward (@shannonwoodward) August 21, 2013
Is it okay to exploit people's emotional issues in public under the guise of helping them? #DrPhilQuestions— Jarrah Hodge (@jarrahpenguin) August 20, 2013
If a guy with a TV show turns out to be a rape apologist, should the show be canceled? #DrPhilQuestions— Peter Flom (@peterflom) August 20, 2013
Responding today to the controversy that ensued, producers of the show released a statement saying the question was posed in order "to evoke discussion leading into a very serious show topic based upon a recent news story, hence the #teensaccused label."
After defending Dr. Phil and his position that individuals who are "incapacitated" by "drugs, alcohol, age or mental illness" can not give their consent, the producers went on to apologize for the "ill-advised" tweet, which was almost immediately deleted, allegedly by Dr. Phil himself.
"We sincerely apologize that it suggested anything other than what was intended, data gathering," the show's statement continued. "As you can imagine, Dr. Phil is very upset that this happened."
Probably not that upset: According to Deadline, the show behind the question is being taped today and is still expected to air as planned next season.
[screengrab via Twitter]