With Celebrity Rehab now over, critics are praising the end of a show called exploitative and dangerous.
Dr. Drew Pinsky announce this week that he will not continue on with the show, which follows celebrities as they try to tackle their addictions.
“It’s very stressful and very intense for me,” Pinsky said in a recent radio interview with Zach Sang and the Gang. “To have people questioning my motives and taking aim at me because people get sick and die because they have a life-threatening disease, and I take the blame? Rodney King has a heart attack and I take blame for that?”
Dr. Drew Pinsky came under fierce criticism this February after country singer Mindy McCready became the fifth member of Celebrity Rehab to die in the last two years. McCready committed suicide, while others have died of overdoses or natural causes.
Critics slammed Celebrity Rehab for turning the private struggles of celebrities into entertainment.
“If you watched the show as a serious documentary, it had a lot to offer, and was unsparing and often moving,” she wrote. “If you watched it as a hilarious spectacle, then — well, it’s hard to figure out how to end this sentence, because I think you’re awful. But reality TV sends these things out into the world, and there’s no controlling what a viewer’s reaction is going to be. It doesn’t help that Dr. Drew has sometimes seemed like a fame addict himself.”
Dr. Drew Pinsky himself commented on Mindy’s death, saying he tried to help the troubled singer before her suicide.
“Although I have not treated her for few years, I had reached out to her recently upon hearing about the apparent suicide of her boyfriend and father of her younger children. She was devastated. Although she was fearful of stigma and ridicule she agreed with me that she needed to make her health and safety a priority. Unfortunately it seems that Mindy did not sustain her treatment.”
Not that Celebrity Rehab is over, critics have been vindicated in their assessment of the show.
“How could this be working, a doctor benefiting fame-wise and financially from patient’s misery?” Dr. Jeffrey Foote, co-founder of New York’s Center for Motivation and Change, asked to Entertainment Weekly before the fifth season began.
With Celebrity Rehab over, it seems his question has been answered.