Was Montel Williams duped into promoting the Church of Scientology on his talk show?
Earlier this week, Williams - who is not a Scientologist - devoted a show to "children abused through the use of prescription psychiatric drugs such as Ritalin, specifically given to alleviate the symptoms of attention-deficit disorder."
But the featured organization on the segment was the "Citizens Commission on Human Rights." CCHR, founded by Scientology in 1969, is an anti-psychiatry "watchdog group" that once described psychiatry as a "malignant disease" that "threatens society and ultimately mankind."
During the show, CCHR president Bruce Wiseman compared "your friendly neighborhood psychiatrist" to drug lords in Colombia. Appearing with him, Scientology celebrity Juliette Lewis urged the audience to make "drug manufacturers and psychiatrists accountable." Williams also introduced cameo clips by church followers Anne Archer and Catherine Bell.
Noted Scientology-watcher Rick Ross writes on cultnews.com, "At no time did the talk show host explore the wider agenda of the CCHR and/or its antipathy for the entire mental health profession . . . the S-word (Scientology) was never even uttered."
Ross adds: "Many of the claims made by the CCHR have been labeled 'preposterous' by experts . . . Montel offered up instead 'expert' Mary Ann Block, a CCHR board member who . . . is an osteopath."
Block claimed that attention-deficit disorder is a "made-up, psychiatric label."
Ross notes this is not the first time Williams has aired a Scientology-based episode. "Earlier this year, Montel repeated a program with Scientologist Kelly Preston, wife of Scientologist John Travolta, that touted the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, about "environmental toxins" that hurt kids.
"It seems that Montel has either gone from dumb to dumber, or is so desperate for celebrity appearances to boost his ratings, he will shill almost anything," Ross wrote.
A rep for Williams said: "In the 12 years that 'The Montel Williams Show' has been on the air, guests have never been discriminated against based on religious beliefs. We would not discriminate against someone like Mr. Rick Ross . . . we welcome him to the show to discuss his bias."