The tweet, which has since been deleted, asked, "If a girl is drunk, is it OK to have sex with her? Reply yes or no to @drphil #teensaccused."
Twitter users responded, all right. But instead of answering yes or no, as Dr. Phil's show hoped, they expressed anger at the host for suggesting that it might be OK to have sex with someone without consent.
In a statement released to the media on Wednesday, a representative of the "Dr. Phil" show wrote, "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, can not 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."
A petition on Change.org, launched by sexual assault activist Carmen Rios, has asked that Dr. Phil "publicly announce that he will produce and air a show that centers on survivors' voices and educates the public about the true definition of rape and sexual assault, as well as how to prevent it."
So far, the petition has more than 1,100 signatures.