Dr. Phil sparked a firestorm on Tuesday when his official account asked the Twittersphere: "if a girl is drunk, is it okay to have sex with her? Reply yes or no."
But a spokesperson for "Dr. Phil" told TheWrap that the unfortunately-worded tweet did not reflect the family friendly TV therapist's curiosity regarding what constitutes sexual assault, but was for an upcoming episode of his show.
The show issued the following statement to TheWrap, saying: "This Tweet was intended to evoke discussion leading into a very serious show topic based upon a recent news story, hence the #teensaccused label. It was a poll question, not a statement or a joke. As he has maintained over many years, Dr. Phil believes that the position of those incapacitated in any fashion; be it drugs, alcohol, age or mental illness cannot and do not have the capacity to give their consent to anything, especially sex, which could have life changing repercussions. This was a research post in preparation for a show, not a personal post and Dr. Phil deleted it the second he saw it. It was clearly ill-advised. We sincerely apologize that it suggested anything other than what was intended, data gathering. As you can imagine, Dr. Phil is very upset that this happened. It was not intended to be taken lightly."
Also read: Kal Penn Defends NY's Stop-and-Frisk Policy, Ignites Twitter War
Indeed, Dr. Phil's Twitter timeline shows several tweets similar in nature — most recently, Dr. Phil asked if his followers had "experienced abuse by a stepparent? How was it resolved?"
There are also words of advice, such as: "I don’t want you to be victimized; I want you to be victim-wise."
You won't find the offending tweet anymore, however — it was deleted. Screenshots, of course, remain: