Election 2024

Dr. Oz doesn’t want voters to see his episode on LGBTQ conversion therapy

GOP Senate candidate Mehmet Oz
GOP Senate candidate Mehmet Oz Photo: Shutterstock

Pennsylvania Senate candidate and television personality Mehmet Oz apparently doesn’t want voters to see a controversial episode of his TV show about so-called LGBTQ “conversion therapy.” The Republican has removed video from the 2012 episode from The Dr. Oz Show’s website.

The episode’s page remains up, however, along with a description: “Dr. Oz hosts a discussion about reparative therapy. Find out what it is and what the experts have to say. Then, Dr. Oz investigates what happens during reparative therapy. Watch and see what goes in a reparative therapy retreat.” Links to the episode’s three segments remain as well, but a message states that the videos are “currently unavailable.”

As Twitter account PatriotTakes, which monitors right-wing extremism, notes, Oz has also removed responses from LGBTQ organization GLAAD and GLSEN to the episode from the show’s site along with a 2012 blog post that Oz wrote arguing that “the debate continues” over a proposed gay conversion therapy ban in California.

GLAAD, GLSEN, and PFLAG all denounced the episode at the time, calling on Oz to stand with the entire medical community against conversion therapy and to tell his LGBTQ viewers that he did not support the idea that their sexual orientation should be “repaired.” According to the groups, the producers of the Dr. Oz Show framed their program on reparative therapy in a way that “provided a lengthy platform for junk science.”

As LGBTQ Nation reported in 2012, the episode devoted two segments to two proponents of reparative therapy, neither of whom were challenged by Oz or his guests. The two “ex-gay” activists stayed and rebutted statements by opponents throughout the show.

Oz presented the anti-LGBTQ organization National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality’s (NARTH) representative Julie Hamilton as an “expert.” The now-defunct organization promoted conversion therapy, which has been widely discredited and outlawed in several states.

In a joint statement, GLAAD, GLSEN, and PFLAG said the episode misrepresented “NARTH’s work and practices [as] legitimate and acceptable medical practices.” They also argued that while the show featured guests who condemned the idea and practice of “reparative therapy,” Oz himself never weighed in, and, according to the groups, “The audience was misled to believe that there are actual experts on both sides of this issue.”

In his subsequent blog post, which has been removed from his site, Oz indicated he sided “with the established medical consensus,” which has rejected the practice of sexual orientation change efforts.

In August, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) signed an executive order aimed at discouraging the practice of “conversion therapy.” Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano, who is running against Democrat Josh Shapiro, called the executive order “disgusting.” Real Clear Politics’ polling average shows Shapiro leading Mastriano by 8.3 points.

Oz faces Democrat John Fetterman, who has a slim 1.3-point lead, according to Real Clear Politics.

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