Dr. Oz is running to be a U.S. Senator representing Pennsylvania, and a large part of his campaign has focused on protecting same-sex marriage. As anyone who has followed Oz’s career can tell you, however, his track record is full of medical misinformation and largely anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric. In an effort to distance himself from harmful practices he has previously promoted, it appears that Oz has scrubbed gay conversation therapy content from 2012 from his website.
According to Jezebel, Oz got rid of 2012 segments covering gay conversation therapy, a harmful and potentially deadly practice that has repeatedly been proven ineffective and dangerous for the LGBTQ+ people, often kids or adolescents, forced to participate. Previously, Oz had hosted an interview with a “reparative therapy” advocate, along with a blog post from Oz discussing the “debate” around conversation therapy (which, again, is harmful, dangerous, and absolutely does not work).
“I felt that we needed to include all parties who have considered reparative therapy to hear the stories of people who have tried these treatments,” Oz wrote in the since-deleted blog post. “Although some viewers may disagree with this tactic, if we want to reach everyone who might benefit from understanding the risks of this therapy, you have to present multiple perspectives.”
Although Oz ultimately said that there is “not enough published data” that supported “positive results with gay reparative therapy,” the fact that he gave anti-LGBTQ rhetoric such a massive platform is problematic in itself. Both-sidedness, or “false balance,” is when journalists (or pseudo-professionals with large platforms) present issues as being more balanced between opposing viewpoints than data and evidence would suggest in the name of equal or fair reporting.
While it’s unclear what the motivation behind this content cleanup is, it’s important to remember that Oz has been repeatedly called out not only for being a shill for pseudo-medical advice, but also for making detrimental remarks about trans athletes. he’s also called abortion at any stage of pregnancy “murder.”
More and more anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ political candidates might try similar moves to appeal to a broader base during election season.
This new info makes it even more critical to research candidates this election cycle.