Dr. Drew Pinsky has been hosting Teen Mom reunion shows since the very earliest days of the franchise.
His interview techniques and hosting style have always been sources of controversy, but the harshest criticism of Pinsky’s tenure came last week in response to his treatment of Maci Bookout’s storyline.
In a segment that didn’t sit well with some fans, Drew spoke with Maci’s 14-year-old son Bentley about his relationship with his father.
On Reddit and elsewhere, Pinksy was criticized for exploiting the boy and using his trauma to liven up an otherwise sluggish reunion.
Now, Drew has responded to the backlash in a surprisingly candid interview with UK tabloid The Sun.
“I believe I asked Maci ahead of time if it was OK to go there,” Drew told the site in a video interview, as reported by The Ashley’s Reality Roundup.
“So, no [I don’t regret doing that.] Look, everyone agrees to be open. We all sort of talk about it and we go out there and these women very kindly share their lives with you.”
Pinsky explained that he seeks to do more than merely provide entertainment to the show’s audience.
The host, who holds a medical degree from USC, explained he sometimes feels the need “probe in” to help the cast “connect the dots” about their lives.
“I push to get the answers because it’s my job but I kind of figure it out and am like, ‘OK, there’s zones that we should be in and zones that we shouldn’t be in,” Pinsky explained.
In response to allegations that he was too persistent in questioning Bentley, Drew revealed that he sees himself as a combination journalist/therapist, and that he probes deeply in an effort uncover therapeutic truths.
“When someone stonewalls me, I don’t know [if they’re] stonewalling because they’re defensive and we should be talking about that defensive structure, or are they stonewalling me because they’re on-camera and they don’t want to talk about this, which they should be entitled to,” Pinsky told The Sun.
“I don’t want to violate somebody’s privacy issues but if they’re defensive, it’s my job to kind of dismantle those defenses a little bit and kind of figure out what’s really behind that,” he added.
“I’ve gotten very good at that navigating between those two places after all these years of doing this.”
As The Ashley points out, this is far from the first time that Drew’s job performance has attracted harsh criticism.
In January of 2021, Teen Mom star Ashley Jones called the good doctor out for instigating drama.
“[Drew is] sitting up there old as my Papa instigating little girl drama for the last however long,” she said at the time.
“Surely as a Dr. his medical contributions can be greater… Dr. Drew messy ass need to drop the ‘Dr.’ [from his name] and just call himself a Wendy Williams cause he’s a disgrace.”
Drew didn’t respond to those allegations.
In fact, he usually keeps mum in the face of criticism.
So the fact that he felt the need to respond this time around could be taken as a sign that the Bentley situation really struck a nerve.