Trump-endorsed former reality show physician Dr. Mehmet Oz is no longer associated with Columbia University, and the Ivy League school has quickly moved to erase any trace of his affiliation with the university. The university quietly removed the reality show doctor from its websites, including any links to his pages, and, according to The Daily Beast, Dr. Oz is no longer listed as Vice-Chair of the surgery department and Department of Integrated Medicine. For critics of the TV doctor, it’s been a long time coming.
Dr. Arthur Caplan, professor of Medical Ethics at NYU, is all too familiar with Dr. Oz’s pushing of misinformation and crackpot medical theories. Caplan is one of ten physicians who signed a letter seven years ago, unsuccessfully calling for Dr. Oz’s removal from Columbia University. Columbia stood behind Dr. Oz then. Doug Levy, a spokesman for the university, stated that “Columbia is committed to the principle of academic freedom and to upholding faculty members’ freedom of expression for statements they make in public discussion.”
They’ve since changed their tune. Caplan is shocked that it took until now, telling The Guardian:
“My question becomes, ‘What took so long?’ He’s been a huge danger to public health in the US and around the world for a long time with respect to quack cures for Covid and touting quackery to treat diseases. I was among the voices saying he had to be removed years ago. And I still think it’s the right thing to do because he really has forfeited credibility as a doctor. Whether that will matter in terms of the election, we shall see. I think it should, I doubt it will.”
In June of 2014, Dr. Oz appeared before the Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety and Insurance for statements made on his show promoting weight loss products to his audience, which he did despite their being ineffective. The committee’s chair, then-Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO), put the doctor on the spot by challenging his continued assertions about “miracle” weight loss products and by decrying the false advertising.
Dr. Oz promoted the use of green coffee beans as a weight loss supplement to his audience of an average of three million viewers — an audience that a study by the University of Delaware says includes women in lower-income demographics who rely on television as their go-to source for health information rather than taking their personal physician’s advice.
Senator McCaskill called Oz out on his influence and responsibility to his viewers, criticizing him for giving people “false hope” and saying, “I don’t get why you need to say this stuff when you know it’s not true. When you have this amazing megaphone, why would you cheapen your show? … With power comes a great deal of responsibility.”
The following year, Dr. Henry Miller of Stanford’s Hoover Institute sent out an email to physicians around the country, asking them to join him in a public condemnation of Dr. Oz – and what Miller and the other nine doctors who signed onto the letter called “an egregious lack of integrity by promoting quack treatments and cures in the interest of personal financial gain” and showing “a disdain for science and for evidence-based medicine.” Ironically, Trump appointee Dr. Scott Atlas – disgraced for pushing misinformation as White House coronavirus advisor – was a co-signer on the letter.
Though Oz has refuted the accusations against him through the years, his troubles started well before then. In 2011, Dr. Oz came under fire for unsubstantiated claims that apple juice contained “unsafe” levels of arsenic. And CNN reported that in 2013, Dr. Oz was the subject of a lawsuit filed in New York by a man said to be left lame and “disabled from third degree burns” after taking the doctor’s advice on how to “cure” insomnia.
The Pennsylvania Senate race has become headline news with Trump’s endorsement of Dr. Mehmet Oz, but even with the twice impeached former president’s support, Dr. Oz trails behind the GOP front runner, David McCormick, a Gulf War Vet and hedgefund manager who is backed by former Trump aide Kellyanne Conway to become Pennsyvania’s next potential Republican senatorial candidate.
Is he the KEY to the KEYSTONE STATE?
Pennsylvania Republicans court Bridgewater CEO & Army/Bronze Star veteran, job creator, first-time candidate who maintains a close connection to Trump to run for US Senate.https://t.co/HKAfkNJHxr
— Kellyanne Conway (@KellyannePolls) November 9, 2021
Both McCormick and Dr. Oz entered the Pennsylvania race after the previous candidate – also endorsed by Trump – Sean Parnell dropped out. The former GOP frontrunner, after being backed by Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) and Representatives Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) and Ronny Jackson (R-TX), was forced to drop out after accusations of domestic violence by Parnell’s now ex-wife, Laurie Snell.
Fellow Republican Jeff Bartos brought the charges to light in an interview where he revealed that in 2017 and 2018, Snell was granted temporary orders of protection from her husband; that Parnell called her a “whore;” and that on a family trip in 2008, Parnell forced her out of a vehicle, telling his pregnant wife to “go get an abortion.”
With candidates like Parnell and Dr. Oz representing the Republican Party, let’s hope that Pennsylvania can become a state where Democrats can pick up a seat in the Senate and retain — or better yet, increase — their majority.
Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick