Dr. Phil may be getting some backlash after his comments about Bruce Jenner’s transition just after Jenner appeared in a dress in photos. The talk show host denied that he had wanted to be the one to interview Bruce rather than Diane Sawyer, reported Us Weekly.
Visiting Jimmy Kimmel, Dr. Phil responded to a question about how he felt when he learned about Sawyer’s two-hour special featuring Bruce’s transition from man to woman.
“I was wondering if it breaks your heart that Bruce Jenner is going to speak to Diane Sawyer on Friday night instead of coming to your show,” questioned Jimmy.
But Dr. Phil was adamant in his lack of interest in talking to Jenner.
“It would be boring to talk to me about that,” he insisted. “First off, I would say, ‘Look. If it’s what you want to do… do it! What the hell’s it matter what anybody else thinks?’ That would be my point.”
Then Dr. Phil joked about Jenner’s age and questioned whether Bruce was too old to transition.
“You’re almost 80, what’s the point? This is a theoretical exercise, right? I don’t know. He’s kind of past prime for like… right?”
Kimmel also mocked Bruce, commenting that Jenner had won a gold medal at the Olympics.
“I wouldn’t put anything past him. I mean, he may be a champion in the bed as well!”
However, Dr. Phil then tried to compensate for his mocking of Bruce.
“I’ll tell you what,” added Dr. Phil. “He’s a hell of a nice guy.”
Recalling Bruce’s past, his high school girlfriend admitted that she was shocked to learn about Jenner’s decision.
“I would never have thought that in a million years, knowing him from high school,” said Michelle Rosenthal. “The Bruce I remember was happy-go-lucky. Nice guy, friendly with everybody, popular. The few times I’ve seen him on [KUWTK], he just didn’t look happy.”
However, as the Inquisitr reported, Kris Jenner denied that Bruce had told her he had any desire to change during their marriage. She also expressed concern about how his public transition and interview may impact their daughters, especially Kendall and Kylie Jenner.
With regard to the highly publicized photos of Jenner in a dress, photographers took them illegally, according to Yahoo News.
Those photos, shown on CNN and the New York Daily News, showed Bruce outside of his home in a striped dress. Paparazzi took them with telephoto lenses in order to show him in what is his personal area, thus going against the law. Jenner can sue or obtain a restraining order as a result.
But LGBT activists are speaking up to defend the 65-year-old Jenner, reported the Poynter Institute. They also are asking the media industry to be more thoughtful in the coverage of such topics.
The National Lesbian and Gay Journalism Association sent out a letter to writers and other media members discussing the best approach to covering Diane Sawyer’s interview. NLGJA executive director Adam Pawlus explained that the goal is to provide guidance both for Jenner’s media coverage and in the future.
“We hope these tools help answer the questions many reporters and editors will have before them, and to help improve the overall quality and accuracy of coverage in this Bruce Jenner news cycle and the continuing coverage of all transgender individuals.”
The guidelines for the media industry include details on how to handle the issue of which gender to use.
“Transgender people should be referred to by the name and gender with which they identify. Some transgender people choose to take hormones or have medical procedures, but that’s not what determines the right name and pronoun to use. It is stating one’s gender identity that is what should guide word use. If and when Jenner expresses a different gender pronoun or name, that’s the one to use.”
Also defending Bruce was Jill Soloway, creator of Transparent, who told the Wrap that she feels speculation isn’t helpful.
“You know, with Bruce Jenner, people who are transitioning have such a hard time with all aspects,” she said. “Speculation about trans people, other-izing them, looking at them and guessing isn’t what’s called for. Let them be. Let it be what it is.”
[Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images]