American celebrity psychologist Dr Phil McGraw has been blasted for stating that there’s no point in Bruce Jenner transitioning – because he’s too old!
It’s been widely reported that the 65-year-old former Olympic athlete and reality TV star is in the midst of his transition to a woman, which he’s expected to discuss with journalist Diane Sawyer in a show being broadcast today in the US.
Appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live! McGraw said he wasn’t upset that he didn’t get to interview Jenner on the issue.
“It would be boring to talk to me about that. First off, I would say, ‘Look. If it’s what you want to do … do it! What the hell’s it matter what anybody else thinks?”
McGraw went on to say: “That would the first 30 seconds and I guess we’d spend the next hour and 59 minutes saying, ‘You’re almost 80, what’s the point?’”
Amid laugher from the audience, he added: “This is a theoretical exercise, right? I don’t know. He’s kind of like past prime for like … right?”
The insensitive and flippant comments were widely criticised on social media.
One person (Yo Mama) commented on YouTube that, “Someone with the most insignificant understanding of psychology would know that people transition late in life because they’ve lived most of their lives being encouraged to repress these feelings because they’re ‘unnatural’. I realise Dr Phil may know this, but he needs to lose the Dr title and call himself an entertainer because that’s all he is.”
McGraw later attempted to “clarify” his position in a statement. “Bruce and I have known each other casually for a while and we’re around the same age,” McGraw told People magazine.
“I’ve said long and loud it’s never too late to make a life change, and I’m personally cheering him on. I’m glad he’s decided to set himself free in order to live his life authentically. It’s his life and his body and his decision – more power to him,” he said.
Jenner won his decathlon gold medal at the 1976 Olympics. He had a brief television acting career before returning to the public eye in 2007 in the long-running reality series Keeping Up with the Kardashians.