Dr. Oz naughty nurse update--victory!
Global news coverage of Truth campaign results in Oz response that sort of resembles an apology!
December 6, 2010 -- Today reporter Lynn Elber of the Associated Press covered our campaign to ask Mehmet Oz, host of The Dr. Oz Show, to apologize and make amends for a November 4 weight loss segment in which "nurses" "got sexy" and danced with Oz. The AP story quoted Truth director Sandy Summers and American Nurses Association spokeswoman Joan Hurwitz, who called the segment a "sexist caricature of nursing." The story was picked up by 2,200 news organs across the world, including the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Online Nigeria, the Times of India, New Zealand Yahoo and the Arabic language Wael El-Ebrashy. Some publications wrote their own pieces; these included The Hartford Courant ("Does your nurse dance/dress provocatively?"), the Sydney Morning Herald, the Daily Mail, and TV Guide. In a statement released to the AP in response to the story, the show said that Oz "has worked alongside extraordinary nursing professionals throughout his medical career and holds nurses in the highest regard as they save lives and heal patients. Any attempt at humor should never call into question Dr. Oz's utmost respect for the nurses with whom he works and has lauded in other shows." The statement said that the segment "included a costume that was considered offensive to some and we apologize if there were any hurt feelings," and the show promised to "do better in the future." This is progress, though the hedging phrases "considered offensive to some" and "hurt feelings" clearly suggest that the show thinks the nurses who objected are just being too sensitive and that no serious issues are involved here. To our knowledge the show has done nothing to show that it really understands what it did wrong or that Oz intends to address the issue personally or to make amends. For instance, Oz might do something on air to address the poor public understanding of nursing to which his show contributed; he might show specifically how nurses "save lives and heal patients." Apart from the "saving lives" bit, the vague "lauding" on display in Oz's statement means little. But we believe that Oz and his producers do at least understand now that there is some problem with naughty nurse imagery, and that they will hesitate before using it again. We thank those who wrote the hundreds of powerful letters to Dr. Oz in support of the campaign. You made this possible!