A former staffer at the Dr. Phil talk show seen on SABC2 is suing Dr. Phil McGraw for alleged wrongful imprisonment after he held 300 employees in a locked room, penned in by security guards, as he allegedly threatened them over ongoing media leaks to the press.
The Dr. Phil show declined to comment for the story first reported by America's People magazine on Thursday.
Leah Rothman, who worked as a segment director on Dr. Phil for 12 years since 2003 says in her lawsuit that she quit in April 2015 due to a hostile work environment after she complained about what was done to staff on the show with the Dr. Phil human resources executive month earlier.
A month earlier, in March 2015, Leah Rothman was on leave and says in her lawsuit she was called in to work at the CBS production company with 300 Dr. Phil employees who were pushed into a room with security guards, their phones taken away, and then threatened that those leaking information from the show to the media will be "f-ed' with.
Leah Rothman alleges that Dr. Phil McGraw threatened and accused his own staff of leaking information to the media while they were locked in a room with security guards and their cellphones taken away.
"If you f- with me, I'll f- with you," Dr. Phil McGraw said to Dr. Phil staff while they were locked in the room, according to the lawsuit, with Leah Rothman saying Dr. Phil McGraw appeared to take pleasure in scaring the people who worked for him.
Later in the month she went to a CBS HR executive to complain about the locked-in meeting but a follow-up meeting never took place, with Leah Rothman saying her whistler blower complaint was ignored.
She says she felt so emotionally stressed that she was forced to quit working for Dr. Phil a few weeks after the threatening locked room encounter.