Dr. Ian Smith, former host of the ViacomCBS syndicated talk show The Doctors, is accusing the medical show and its producers of racial discrimination and retaliation after he was fired earlier this year.
Smith filed a complaint Monday with the New York State Division of Human Rights and U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The show is produced by Dr. Phil McGraw and his son Jay McGraw’s production company, Stage 29 Productions. The complaint lists ViacomCBS, Stage 29 and executive producers Patty Ciano and Jay McGraw as respondents.
“If my client didn’t complain about racism, he would still be the host of The Doctors,” Smith’s attorney, Rick Ostrove, said in a statement to The Times.
In his complaint, Smith alleges the majority of the show’s producers are White and that no Black producers are in any creative executive positions, and that the show did not book enough Black guests for medical segments.
The complaint also mentions an instance when Smith was speaking to a Black guest, Married to Medicine star Jacqueline Walters, and the Zoom call was still being recorded. He told Walters he does not watch the Bravo show anymore due to the way he felt Black people were portrayed on the series.
Smith says he heard someone on the Zoom call say “Just because he’s Black, he can’t get away with s— like that. Someone needs to tell him off.”
Smith’s complaint also alleges executive producer Ciano fostered a toxic work environment. Reps for The Doctors did not immediately respond to Urban Hollywood 411’s request for comment.
According to published reports, former The Doctors co-host Rachel Ross — who is Black — went public earlier this year with allegations of racial discrimination and a toxic workplace at the show.
Smith is an author and previously served as the medical/diet expert for six seasons on VH1’s Celebrity Fit Club. He attended Dartmouth Medical School.
As previously reported, he was announced as solo host of The Doctors in August 2020, after a shakeup of the original format of the show, which had a panel of medical experts including long-time host ER physician Dr. Travis Stork, as well as co-host Dr. Andrew Ordon, a plastic surgeon.
Ordon was brought back as the show’s host after Smith was terminated.