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`Deadliest Catch` no Match for Addiction
Aired April 19, 2011 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST: Here we go now.
They have the most dangerous jobs in the world, but it`s addiction that threatens their lives. Two "Deadliest Catch" crew members are here with us.
And what kind of dad encourages his kid to beat up a bully and then eggs him on during the fight? Father and son tell me their story.
Plus, a little boy likes wearing dresses. Mom says it`s OK. What do you think?
Let`s get started.
The two Jakes are here. They`re part of the crew who risk life and limb on Discovery`s "Deadliest Catch." Another aspect of their lives is addiction.
Jake Harris -- "Jake H." we`re going to call him -- had problems with opiates, Oxycontin. "Jake A.," Jake Anderson, alcoholism. Both suffered the loss of their fathers while working stressful jobs on the high seas.
You have got to look at this.
PINSKY (voice-over): Jake Harris and Jake Anderson, two men living a twofold threat. At sea, they battled mammoth waves, churning waters, and gale-force winds. On land, they face down a different tempest -- the disease of addiction.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m an addict.
PINSKY: The two Jakes perform America`s deadliest job, but they also grapple with one of the world`s most pernicious and insidious diseases. And while the Bering Sea can swallow them whole, the vortex of personal struggle and hardship can, too.
Tonight I`m going to talk to them both about navigating the storms.
PINSKY: All right.
Jake Harris, nice to meet you.
JAKE HARRIS, "DEADLIEST CATCH"; Nice to meet you.
PINSKY: Jake Anderson, a pleasure.
JAKE ANDERSON, "DEADLIEST CATCH": A pleasure.
PINSKY: We`ll get to you in just a minute.
Mr. H. on the hot seat for a second.
So, opiates, when did that start?
HARRIS: Well, in high school, I was a skater, and it turned out I wasn`t very good, so I broke some limbs.
PINSKY: Broke some limbs?
PINSKY: You know, it`s something that gets missed a lot. Doctors give you opiates for weeks and weeks, and then months and months, and then, all of a sudden, you`re switching over to pot and alcohol when they try to take you off it.
Is that what happened?
HARRIS: That`s exactly what happened.
PINSKY: Yes. I have to say something to my viewers for one second.
If you have a kid who has orthopedic injuries under the age of 18, and he or she gets prescribed opiates, pain medicine for more than two weeks, be careful. If there`s any biological or genetic predilection for alcoholism and addiction, you can trigger it. And that kid, when they come off opiates -- tell them what happened when they started took the pain meds away from you.
HARRIS: You get sick.
PINSKY: Instead, you turn to something else usually. Right?
HARRIS: Yes. You turn to the street, or anything I guess.
PINSKY: Well --
HARRIS: That`s exactly what happened.
PINSKY: Well, usually it`s pot and alcohol with teenagers.
HARRIS: Yes, pot and alcohol. It definitely gets in the way.
PINSKY: Gets in the way.
Let`s look at another clip from "Deadliest Catch" here. This is a critical moment for Jake Harris. He`s had addiction, as we`re sort of hearing here. He`s telling his dad in this clip that he`s going to get treatment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "DEADLIEST CATCH")
HARRIS: I don`t want it to be like this at all.
CAPT. PHIL HARRIS, "DEADLIEST CATCH": Then go to treatment.
J. HARRIS: I will. I will.
P. HARRIS: That`s the only (EXPLETIVE DELETED) thing that`s going to save your ass.
J. HARRIS: I will. I`ll do anything you want me to do.
P. HARRIS: I just want you to be normal, Jake.
J. HARRIS: I`m trying to be normal. I`m trying to keep a chipper attitude. I`m trying to do everything. You know?
(END VIDEO CLIP, "DEADLIEST CATCH")
PINSKY: Is it tough to see your dad in the clips?
J. HARRIS: Yes, it is. I don`t really watch the show too much. And yes, it`s definitely hard.
PINSKY: Is that the reason, you don`t want to --
J. HARRIS: It`s not that I don`t want to see his face, you know, but when you`re at a weak spot like that, and having to admit to, you know, one of your heroes in life that, you know, you need help, it`s definitely hard to watch.
PINSKY: I bet that wasn`t the first time you had that conversation.
J. HARRIS: No, it wasn`t actually.
PINSKY: How many dozens of times had you guys had that conversation?
J. HARRIS: A lot. We definitely did.
PINSKY: And had you gone to treatment before that?
J. HARRIS: Actually, to work the program, no, I hadn`t before that.
PINSKY: But you`d been -- somebody sent you somewhere. You just didn`t do it?
J. HARRIS: Yes, exactly.
PINSKY: And so something changed. Was that a moment of change for you there?
J. HARRIS: You know, right there, I was definitely looking in the mirror and want to make a change.
PINSKY: Now, were you going to go right into treatment as soon as you hit shore at that point?
J. HARRIS: Yes. We were all planned out. We had the plane tickets, and it all worked out to go in. And then I kind of had a little trip-up with -- the old man had a stroke.
PINSKY: A little trip-up?
J. HARRIS: I had a big trip-up. It was definitely -- it threw my world upside-down and put me in a real sad place there for a little bit. It kind of made things get a little worse before they got better.
PINSKY: Right. I bet, because that`s usually what happens. You seem emotional about it even now.
J. HARRIS: Yes. Just talking about it, yes.
PINSKY: You miss your dad?
J. HARRIS: Yes. I do. Very much so. Very much so.
PINSKY: But then you ran to drugs.
J. HARRIS: Yes. I got a big hole in my heart and I tried to fill it up with everything that wasn`t good for it. You know? And it took me a while to realize what I really wanted out of life.
PINSKY: Well, here, actually, is a clip of you visiting your dad in the hospital, discussing your commitment to go to treatment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
J. HARRIS: I got a hold of the center today and I made the arrangements to go in for help. But I know I made the promise to do it, and I`m still going to keep my promise. I love you.
P. J. HARRIS: I`m real proud of you.
J. HARRIS: Thank you.
P. J. HARRIS: Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: It says in the clip there that he had a stroke. He actually had an intracranial hemorrhage. Isn`t that right?
J. HARRIS: Yes. Yes.
PINSKY: Which is -- people commonly mistake that for a stroke. Was that the last time you saw him?
J. HARRIS: That was the last time I saw him, that pic right there, yes.
PINSKY: Did you understand how seriously ill he was at that point?
J. HARRIS: I did. It was one of the hardest things ever to leave him at that moment, but I made a promise, and he definitely wanted to, you know, see me take a step to get better. So --
PINSKY: So you left him to go to treatment?
J. HARRIS: Yes. And not seeing him -- that was the last night that I saw him. I flew out that night, and the next morning he passed away.
PINSKY: And then you diverted course?
J. HARRIS: Yes. I had an intense week there. It turns out helicopters are faster than cars. Got in a car chase and big trouble. And --
PINSKY: What was this? I didn`t know about this.
J. HARRIS: I got in a car chase. I was, you know, drunk driving, and got in some trouble. And then, yes, went to rehab right after that. I called it quits after that.
PINSKY: Did the courts order you to rehab?
J. HARRIS: No, I went on my own accord.
PINSKY: So it really got pretty bad?
J. HARRIS: Yes. Definitely.
PINSKY: You know, a lot of people want to know how you maintain working on a ship like that if you`re using drugs.
J. HARRIS: When you`re, like, 250 miles out, you know, they`re dry boats and everything, you know. But then when you get back home, and you don`t work for months --
PINSKY: You had to have been taking pills when you were out there.
J. HARRIS: Yes, a little bit. Yes. I sure was.
PINSKY: Yes. Is it hard for you to talk about this?
J. HARRIS: Just thinking about it, you know, it`s kind of embarrassing, actually.
PINSKY: You`re in recovery now, right?
J. HARRIS: Yes. Yes.
PINSKY: So you got treatment.
J. HARRIS: Yes.
PINSKY: It went well?
J. HARRIS: It went very well. One of the best things that ever happened to me.
PINSKY: OK. And you`re in the program now?
J. HARRIS: Yes.
PINSKY: You have a sponsor?
J. HARRIS: Yes.
PINSKY: Working steps?
J. HARRIS: Yes.
PINSKY: OK. I know your dad would love that.
J. HARRIS: Yes.
PINSKY: And I suspect he -- I don`t know if this is going to sound right. He didn`t believe it was possible.
J. HARRIS: We had the conversation a lot and, you know, for me to actually make the change, you know, is a big step. And so --
PINSKY: Was there some moment when you decided, I`m going to do this? It wasn`t at the bedside with your dad. Was there some other moment?
J. HARRIS: Just, you know, my friends and my family all pulling together and, you know, everybody showing how much they love you. And you just -- you get to a point -- you know, everybody hits their breaking point where it`s either you`re going to die or be in jail.
PINSKY: So you knew you were headed to death or institutionalization.
J. HARRIS: I did.
PINSKY: Sound familiar?
ANDERSON: It sounds very familiar.
PINSKY: OK. We`re going to get to your story in just a second.
But when we come back, we`re going to look at some of your questions for the guys as well. And we`re going to talk to Jake Anderson about his alcoholism and his recovery.
But first, here is a clip from this season`s premiere of the "Deadliest Catch." The crew -- well, this is very emotional. They say here good-bye to Captain Phil Harris.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "DEADLIEST CATCH")
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The old man wanted his ashes spread amongst the Bering Sea. And the tides will carry him to wherever he wanted to go.
(END VIDEO CLIP, "DEADLIEST CATCH")
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "DEADLIEST CATCH")
ANDERSON: I just spent the last year at school, spent thousands of dollars sitting in classes when I wanted to be a captain.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jake has set his sites on the wheelhouse.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jake`s so ambitious, and he`s been going to school. He`s trying to get his license to be a captain.
ANDERSON: Knock it up. This sucks.
(END VIDEO CLIP, "DEADLIEST CATCH")
PINSKY: That was Jake Anderson hard at work. Jake struggled with addiction as well, alcoholism, as, of course, his crewmate, Jake Harris, we were talking to a minute ago.
Now, Jake, before we come off of you, on to Jake A., as I call you guys, I want to point to my viewers which is that, you know, Jake Harris has been struggling with addiction since he was a teenager. And one course of treatment with a case of opiate addiction almost never works magically, like somebody in two months can be well from opiate addiction.
He said something off the air, which that he`d been through three or four previous treatments, then this one did finally take when he acknowledged to himself that it was jail or death ahead.
J. HARRIS: Yes. It definitely took a couple rounds. You know?
You don`t get it at first. You know, you always get out and think you can handle it. You think it starts off good, and then everything just starts falling apart at the seams.
PINSKY: You`ve got to do the do.
Right, Jake A.?
ANDERSON: That is correct.
PINSKY: So what was your story with alcoholism?
ANDERSON: It was a long one. I was a skateboarder as well, very avid about it. I lived in Los Angeles and had sponsors. And I --
PINSKY: Can I say something? In my head, that just goes -- says alcohol, pot.
PINSKY: OK. Because they say alcoholism here, but if you`re a skateboarder and you`re an alcoholic, you`re also smoking a lot of pot. Am I right?
ANDERSON: I wasn`t as big on the marijuana as I was on the alcohol.
PINSKY: Got it.
ANDERSON: But in the beginning I was always the one who judged the alcoholics and the drug addicts, and I shattered my ankle, and I kind of just gave up mentally. And that`s when I started drinking real heavy and became the man I most feared.
So, for a few years after that, I ended up, off and on, on the streets. I didn`t want to go home. I didn`t -- I couldn`t afford to live anywhere. Couldn`t get a job. I didn`t have a license. And I went to treatment.
PINSKY: Before you go to treatment, so you -- because you slipped that pass with it almost going unnoticed. You were such a down-and-out alcoholic, you ended up on the streets for how long?
ANDERSON: About two years off and on.
PINSKY: Two years on the street?
PINSKY: I mean, that`s incredible.
ANDERSON: And if you know, like, a lot of homeless people, they`re not homeless because they can`t find somewhere to live, it`s because they would rather drink than get a job or clean themselves up. And that`s the position I was in, and I didn`t want people to see me in the form that I was in.
And it was so humbling. And then I was stuck, because I started drinking, you know, on Fridays or something, and then I found myself only being able to drink. That was the only way I could function.
And then I went to treatment and I lasted about a week. And I didn`t really know what I was doing. I didn`t know who I was.
You know, I was a fisherman, too, in the summer, and I was a proud alcoholic. Fishermen are alcoholics. You know?
PINSKY: A lot of them are, right?
ANDERSON: And then I found out what it was. And it is not pretty. It is not something to be proud of. And it took me --
PINSKY: But a lot of the guys wear it as a badge of sort of machismo --
PINSKY: -- which is, I`m a functioning alcoholic, I`m on the "Deadliest Catch."
ANDERSON: Yes, and I`m a coward because I can`t drink. As I`m giving them a ride home to the boat to make sure that they`re safe.
PINSKY: Right. Right.
And so you then hit some sort of bottom down the road?
ANDERSON: Yes, and it just went right back. I would get clean for a month, two months. And I finally cleaned up for about six months, wasn`t working a program, didn`t have a support group.
And my uncle Nick (ph) and my uncle Brian (ph) got me a job in Kodiak, where I had seen this guy`s boat. And that was when the show started, and I was really proud of who I was. But then, slowly, I wasn`t working it and it just came right back full circle.
ANDERSON: And I was right back at the bottom again. I had money for bills. I had a place to live. I had a nice car. But I was empty.
Spiritually, I had nothing. There was nothing that made me happy, and I was just as good there as I was out on the street.
ANDERSON: And I made a personal decision to change. And I wanted to be a professional. I wanted to do great things in my life. And with alcohol, I had no choice.
PINSKY: Was there some sort of bottom there for you as well, some sort of moment of change?
ANDERSON: I don`t know when it was.
PINSKY: You were slipping and sliding around for a while, so sometimes that happens.
PINSKY: There`s all kinds of bottoms all sprinkled in there.
ANDERSON: Yes. And until I decided for myself that I didn`t want this life, and I wanted to be like my dad was -- he was a doctor. He had his doctorate in psychology. And I wanted to be smart and educated like he was.
And so I just started going to meetings, meeting after meeting after meeting after meeting. I didn`t really understand what they were saying, but I didn`t question it. I said, fine, you want me to go to 90 meetings, 90 days, just for today?
I mean, I did all that and it started to work. And then I said, finally -- one day, I said, "I can`t work these steps until I stop drinking."
PINSKY: It`s funny how that works.
ANDERSON: I really wanted it. I knew I had to go because it was going to be worse without it. And I finally jumped in.
A month later I was in school. My teachers are just wonderful, and they push me along. And now I have got a 16010 mates license and a Masters.
PINSKY: Wow. I understand something happened though with your father, too. Is that right?
ANDERSON: That`s right. He had -- he battled through colon cancer and beat that. And he -- then he had shoulder surgery.
And that`s when it really got bad, was when he retired counseling. And you see this a lot with addicts and alcoholics, is once they have no responsibility, or they don`t have to be accountable for anything, it`s all going to hit you whether you`re 62, like my dad was, or 18 or 13. I mean - -
PINSKY: And by the way, to tell a professional that they have a problem when they know -- they`re going to tell you how it works and they`re going to tell you what the answer is. And you`re saying, look, you need to surrender to something. That`s tough.
ANDERSON: And it was tough watching my dad because, you know, as an educated man, this was his expertise.
ANDERSON: And so it doesn`t matter who you are. It will take you down whether you`re the strongest crab fisherman or the smartest man alive. It will take you down.
PINSKY: Did he die?
ANDERSON: We don`t know. I mean, in my heart he`s gone. And that`s been really tough to deal with because for me there is no closure.
There is no -- we can`t even get a tombstone. There is no good-bye.
PINSKY: There`s a picture of him there on the screen. He looks like a really cool, happy guy.
PINSKY: We actually have a clip of you talking to your mom, I guess when this all came down. Let`s take a look at that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Mom? Mom?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you hear me?
ANDERSON: Yes. I can hear you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They found the truck, but they haven`t found him yet, but they`re still searching and our families are out searching. We`re going to offer a reward. I just want you to not give up hope yet.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Now, were you sober at that point?
ANDERSON: Oh, yes.
PINSKY: And how do you maintain your sobriety at sea and then get a hit like that and still stay sober?
ANDERSON: Well, that`s the thing that you know as well as I. I have no reservations. I go through that in my mind -- well, if this happened, would I use? No. And it`s no every time. And just for today and forever.
And getting a call like that, as you can see, I had stabbed myself half way through my wrist. The only way I knew how to beat that adversity was throwing the hook. You know?
That`s the only way. Or operating the crane. And I just did it minute by minute, second by second. And that`s how I remain.
And this is life. And it can be an adventure. And it is a journey. And when I die, I want to be able to look back and go, this is fun, that was exciting, and I did everything I could to be the best man I could be. Because when I was on the street, I remember praying to God and saying, I mean, "How am I going to get out of this?"
PINSKY: Well, just surrendering to a process is a solution.
And I just want to point out again to my viewers that this is a disease that affects -- it cuts across all socioeconomic barriers, all types. This is a guy, his dad is a cool guy, and suffered with this condition.
We`re going to come back in a few minuets and we`re going to talk about the guys` life at sea.
And later, a guy who encouraged his son to beat up a bully and then went to jail for it. You don`t want to miss that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "DEADLIEST CATCH")
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The switch, you know, everybody`s talking about the switch. Was it basically a good thing?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, it was good. You know, trying new things, new boats.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sure.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They will not let me in the area now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s shockingly unbelievable on this boat right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You guys let me know, please tell me, because I`m on your team now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They must have a strong stomach.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: That`s Jake Harris and Jake Anderson from Discovery`s "Deadliest Catch." They`re here talking about their private struggles.
Jake Anderson`s dad is missing, as we pointed out earlier. And there`s actually a reward available. And we`d like to ask you for help.
If you know anything, you can go to searchforkeith.com.
And I know you sort of made your peace with things, but let`s put it out there, shall we?
ANDERSON: Yes. Well, like, in the beginning, I had hoped that my father had maybe managed to high-center (ph) his truck or something. So it was easy for me to let go until I went and did the search where the truck was found myself.
And none of it really made any sense to me. And the last person that had seen him, they didn`t really do an investigation. They interrogated him at a McDonald`s, and he had supposedly brought a lawyer. And when we asked them why they didn`t give him a polygraph, or just even ask, they told my aunt -- the detective told my aunt that they weren`t equipped to give polygraphs and they didn`t have enough money to.
ANDERSON: And they`re required by law to DNA evidence 30 days, and there was blood found in the vehicle.
PINSKY: Oh, boy.
ANDERSON: And they told me that it was paint or something.
PINSKY: Oh. So sorry.
ANDERSON: So I had to get an officer to go with me to the detective who finally got him five months later to give the swabs to test the blood. It was his.
And, you know, it`s been tough working with him because there`s been lies about me that have been told to my family. The detective would call my aunt and tell her that I call him crying all the time and I`m loaded and I`m drunk. And if you know me, I`m actually incapable of crying.
PINSKY: Well, you know, and I work with --
ANDERSON: That sucks.
PINSKY: I don`t know about that, but --
ANDERSON: It`s horrible.
PINSKY: -- but I do know sober people. And I can tell when somebody is fully in. And I`ll vouch for you.
Let`s take a Facebook question here. This is from Leslie, and this is pertinent to the issue of addiction and your job.
She asked, "Is it harder to cope with addiction when you`re out at sea?"
And let me kind of frame that question a little differently.
You can`t have meetings out there. Or do you two make a meeting, or do you just let it go for a while? What do you do?
ANDERSON: You can have a meeting. You just need two people. You only need one other person.
PINSKY: That`s what I`m saying. Do you guys do it?
ANDERSON: I have.
J. HARRIS: Yes, we`re sober. You know, we hang out.
PINSKY: But do you have meetings together every night?
ANDERSON: Well, I don`t know if it`s every night, but we do.
PINSKY: You read out of the "Big Book" and --
ANDERSON: , I do everything I can.
PINSKY: cause if you didn`t, I mean, I imagine somebody has got medicine on the boat or something. If you`re in your disease, you`ll rip stuff off from people.
ANDERSON: Well, you know you`re going to get twisted up is what happens.
J. HARRIS: You`ve got to keep reminding yourself.
PINSKY: Your stinking thinking.
ANDERSON: Yes. And so you watch the resentments come back. And then when you get off the boat, the first thing that we do is go to a meeting, just like when we would get loaded. Go to a meeting.
PINSKY: Right. But if you had built all those resentments up when you were out at sea, the first thing you would do is head to a bar.
PINSKY: Gentlemen, very good. Thank you so much for sharing your stories.
I love the show. Can`t wait to see the new season.
PINSKY: And I really appreciate the way you framed your stories. I think it will help people out there.
When we come back, this is a little boy who likes to dress like a girl. It is not a problem for his mom, so why does it bother other people?
And later, a dad who was jailed after coaching his son to beat up a bully.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST (voice-over): I want to extend my sincere thanks to the two Jakes from "Deadliest Catch" for their openness and honesty, and I hope those of you that saw that interview were helped by it. I mean, if anyone struggling with that, you have a lot to learn from those guys. And I also want to remind you that season seven is on Discovery Tuesdays at 9 o`clock.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Now, another topic. Five-year-old Dyson Kilodavis, his mother wasn`t sure how to react when she began noticing this. Her son wearing and playing with things that are not always associated with boys and are traditionally associate with girls. Dyson likes pink things, sparkly thing, princess dresses. Right, Dyson?
DYSON KILODAVIS, LIKES TO DRESS AS GIRL: Yes.
PINSKY: Yes, you do. Dyson`s mom let her son be exactly who he is and celebrates it. She wrote a book -- why don`t you hold it up, guys? -- and called "My Princess Boy." There it is. They`re showing it on the full screen. It`s called "My Princess Boy." It promotes acceptance. Cheryl is here, mom, along with Dyson. There`s the book. And his brother, Dkobe, and the boy`s father, Dean. There they are. Now, Cheryl, when did you first notice this?
CHERYL KILODAVIS, AUTHOR, "MY PRINCESS BOY": Dyson was about two years old when he started having interest in all things pink, sparkly, pretty.
PINSKY: And what did you think?
CHERYL KILODAVIS: I started -- I redirected, soft redirection, initially, because he was two, so young. Just kind of redirecting the trucks trying to make it, you know, a little more comfortable for me.
PINSKY: Yes. And then, what point did you think, wow, something really -- this is not something that`s going to be redirectable?
CHERYL KILODAVIS: At 2 1/2, we had a public display where at playtime, they do dress-up, and he showed up when I picked him up in a red sequin dress. And so, my reaction was, (INAUDIBLE) mom, go to the store, get some dress-up clothes that are pretty for boys. So, I got some karate outfits and band uniforms. And the next day, he greeted me in a yellow dress. So, I realized then it wasn`t so much of a gender thing that I was putting it on, it was just things that he was interested in.
PINSKY: And dean, did you react to this, as well?
DEAN KILODAVIS, SON LIKES TO DRESS AS GIRL: No, not at all. It wasn`t a big deal for me. You know, kids, you know, try all kinds of different things when they`re young. It wasn`t a big deal at all.
PINSKY: My understand, though, it was Dkobe that finally kind of stepped up, right, Dkobe? You were the one that kind of said --
DKOBE KILODAVIS, BROTHER LIKES TO DRESS AS GIRL: Yes.
PINSKY: What did you say?
DKOBE KILODAVIS: Mom, why can`t you just let him be happy?
PINSKY: That must have been -- that must have shot through you like a dart.
CHERYL KILODAVIS: I will never forget that moment. You know, it`s one of those things where people always talk about parenting and how you really need to listen to your kids. And it was this moment where Dkobe was tugging at me and saying, mom, mom. I was calling Dean, Dyson wanted to buy a dress for Halloween. I`d never purchased a dress for him.
And it was just that moment. And Dkobe said, why can`t you just let him be happy? And at that moment, I thought, you know what, you`re right. I`m teaching you. I`m modeling negative behavior and that`s not right for me to do.
PINSKY: And making him feel bad.
CHERYL KILODAVIS: And making him feel miserable. Exactly.
PINSKY: Dyson, do you remember all that?
DYSON KILODAVIS: Yes, I remember all that.
PINSKY: And what did you think when Dkobe stood up for you? When Dkobe said, let him be happy?
DYSON KILODAVIS: It made me feel happy and I liked it because for who Dkobe is and I like him because he likes me. We like each other.
PINSKY: What kind of things do you like dressing up in?
DYSON KILODAVIS: I like dressing up in -- I like to dress up in different kind of clothing, dresses.
CHERYL KILODAVIS: Look at Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: There`s apparently a J-Crew ad -- a J-Crew catalog, I guess, sparked a controversy. It shows J-Crew president, Jenna Lyons, painting her five-year-old son`s toes hot pink. Now, the ad has created quite a bit of stir. Someone called it an attack on masculinity. Cheryl, what`s your reaction to that?
CHERYL KILODAVIS: Well, based on the ad, it looks like a mom and a son having a good time. I`m really hoping that we can get to a place of acceptance. I mean, we`ve got start accepting differences. There are children who have interests and they may not make us comfortable but difference equal discomfort. I mean --
PINSKY: And you mentioned, we all were talking, Dean, Cheryl and I were talking about -- sort of culturally sensitive issues, too.
CHERYL KILODAVIS: Absolutely. In the African-American community, I think, you know, for us, at least, it`s one of those things where we all might know of someone or, you know, we think about all the boys that put on heels and put on earrings and things, put on their mother`s earrings and tried on their heels on the hardwood floors. We all know of that, and we all typically redirect. And so, in our community, it`s taboo to talk about.
PINSKY: And it`s very controversial in the clinical community, too. They call it, sometimes, gender nonconformity. Did you ever hear that?
CHERYL KILODAVIS: I have heard that.
PINSKY: Yes. And they think there -- some people think there`s a biological basis to this and there probably has to be something going on. It`s always nature and nurture, but what to do and should anything be done. Did you ever seek professional help?
CHERYL KILODAVIS: Absolutely. When it first started happening and my husband really -- we wanted to make sure Dyson was happy for who he is. And so, we went to our doctors and went to psychiatrists and psychologists.
PINSKY: You were afraid that it meant this for you (ph), dissatisfaction with who he is.
CHERYL KILODAVIS: Honestly, the only thing I heard in the media was gender confusion.
CHERYL KILODAVIS: And so, I just -- I didn`t know that there could be any other reason to go on. And so, we went through -- Dyson actually coined the term princess boy. He`s the one who said that, you know, I`m a princess boy, mom. And so, the doctor said, you know, the verdict was he`s a healthy and happy little guy. He just loves to dress up in all things pretty, and they said not to over encourage it but not to over discourage it either.
PINSKY: Dean, has this been a process for you?
DEAN KILODAVIS: Yes. Those are enough for me. Again, when we were having children, my only thought was I want my children to be happy and healthy. I don`t need a carbon copy of myself. I don`t need a sequel. The first version was just fine, played well. So, they can have their own lives, you know, what they want to do.
PINSKY: What kills me is all the guys here in the studio, the guys are, go Dean, way to go, man. A lot of unusual participation from my crew.
DEAN KILODAVIS: I think fathers play a pivotal role in this. You know, they`re leaders of the household, and if your leadership is not accepting of you and welcoming of you, you`re leading down a path to later on not being able to have open, honest communications with your children. They`re not always going to be pleasant communications, just like other parts of your life, but if you don`t have them and don`t communicate, to me, that`s a terrible path to put yourself on and your family because you`re not going to make anybody happy.
PINSKY: And really health in a family is about your love and connection which clearly you, guys, all have. I worry about his peers of them being as accepting as his family has been. Worried about that?
CHERYL KILODAVIS: Any parent worth their salt (ph) is worried about anything to happen to their children, right? So, I mean, I think, you know, our job, though, is to be a guide and to help them.
PINSKY: I got to go.
When we come back, did a father turn vigilante by encouraging his son in a battle with a bully? That`s up next.
PINSKY: I really want you to think about this. If your son was being bullied, how would you react? Is it possible you would encourage your son to beat the living daylights out of the bully? Well, Scott Struthers was jailed for doing just that. His wife Kim and their son, Jake, are here with us as well. Father and son are not allowed to be in proximity of one another because of a court order because of all that went down. Take a look at this and then we`ll talk.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT STRUTHERS, ARRESTED AFTER SON BEAT UP BULLY: Poke his eyes out. Slam his head on the ground. Knock him out! Knock him out! Knock him out!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Scott, what happened? What was that?
SCOTT STRUTHERS: Well, that -- that clip that you see there is -- doesn`t define the 41 years that I`ve been here. That -- I`m disgusted when I watch that myself. I absolutely am. The things I said, there`s no excuse for that. I`m disgusted with the things that I said, but the things that led up to that event, the heat of the moment, the emotions that took over at that time resulted in what you see on that video. But it started six, seven, eight months before that incident.
The threats that Jake was receiving via Facebook or some other texting and so forth, the threats, the derogative comments, the vulgar, things that they were saying. They were going to, you know, just went on and on, every day, every other day for about that eight months. The other person was calling Jake out, telling him he was going to fight him, catch him somewhere, and just in the most vulgar way. And I don`t, you know, want to get into that, but it`s just never stopped.
PINSKY: Scott, I`m going to interrupt you. I`m going to interrupt you and say, you know, I`m Not Nancy Grace. So, although, I know she`d love to get you in her cross hairs.
SCOTT STRUTHERS: I understand.
PINSKY: But I would like to use your experience as an example for other people. I`m sure there are other men out there that are watching this going, Scott, good job. And as you say, that`s disgusting. So, what do we tell other fathers who are getting caught up with their aggression? What can they learn from your story?
SCOTT STRUTHERS: Well, I want to tell everybody out there that, you know, handling that in that manner, that, you know, you don`t know what you`re going to do when you get in the heat of the moment like that, so just best not to get in the heat of the moment like that. Don`t be in that position. You know, but protecting my son is when -- that`s -- you feel that`s the only reason that you`re on this planet, your family and so forth.
We`re that close that you just don`t know what some people will do, what they`re capable of or things like that, and it just was very emotional. So, I think that, you know, some other means should have been dealt with, but there`s reasons why, you know, that we didn`t go to the school and some things like that.
PINSKY: Well, I guess the message is any other means or what the other men out there who are contemplating aggression or moms for that matter. Scott has had to face two criminal charges as a result of this, both child abuse and contributing to delinquency of a minor. He was released on Wednesday on $10,000 bond, and the reason he`s in a studio away from his son, he was ordered to stay away from the son.
And I saw the judge issuing this sentence, and he was -- he was none too kind about it, my friend. I want to know from Kim, are you surprised at the way Scott behaved? Is this the man you married?
KIM STRUTHERS, HUSBAND JAILED FOR INCITING SON TO FIGHT: Absolutely not. It was just a tragic day. A few moments, a few seconds in our life that I know we wish we all could relive. You know, we just, you know, we`ve told Jake for months he wasn`t going to fight. He didn`t want to fight, and he`s never been in a fight, but the situation happened so quickly. I know my husband was just out there, worried to death for his son and praying that, you know, he wasn`t going to get hurt out there.
And I think he just got caught up in the situation, and honestly, when we talked about it after the fact, he doesn`t even remember saying a lot of the things he said until he saw them on film. So, it was just -- he was horrified the moment that he seen the film.
PINSKY: Jake, I want to hear from you. How long were you bullied? And this is about bullying, right, is it not? And how long did it go on for in your case? And had you ever bullied anyone, yourself, prior to what we`re seeing here?
JAKE STRUTHERS, COACHED BY DAD TO BEAT UP BULLY: Yes, sir, it is from bullying, and it`s going on for about probably around six, seven months, around there. No, I`ve never bullied anybody. I`ve never been that kind of kid. Like, I`m just a quiet one.
PINSKY: Well, you look pretty aggressive here, my friend. You play football, right?
JAKE STRUTHERS: Yes, sir.
PINSKY: So you left -- you put things on the gridiron. You never let it bleed off into your social life in any way?
JAKE STRUTHERS: No.
PINSKY: I want to give you -- all right. I want to give the viewers some data because I`m sort of -- this whole bullying thing makes me upset, because I`m afraid that big brother is going to step in here, and we`re going to have all kinds of laws that, you know, this paternalism that steps in and requires people to behave civilly as opposed to us just knowing better. Let me just give you some data so you know what`s at risk and what isn`t for kids that are bullying or being bullied.
Fifty-four percent of students said witnessing physical violence at home led to aggression, 61 percent of students said that they were who shot other people were victims of physical abuse, 54 percent of students witnessing physical abuse at home said it led to violence in the schools. So, what we do at home has a tremendous impact on -- and I`m not saying you guys did anything necessarily. I`m just saying if aggression evolves in the home, you put your kid at risk of both bullying and being bullied.
And that`s the other point to be made is that it`s often flip side of the same coin. The kid that is the bully is vastly more likely to have been bullied at some time, but that is not the case with you Jake, is that correct?
JAKE STRUTHERS: Correct.
PINSKY: What have you learned from this? Is there a lesson in this?
JAKE STRUTHERS: Yes, like, fighting isn`t the result. Like, there`s probably other ways you can solve it. Maybe go to, like, your parents and the school, but I didn`t think that would be good.
PINSKY: Can you talk about what happened to the other kid? Jake, can you talk about what happened -- go ahead.
JAKE STRUTHERS: Well - what kind of way?
KIM STRUTHERS: Just tell.
PINSKY: Scott, let me go to you. Scott, back to you. Do you have a lesson for those of us out here watching this wondering how, how did this happen? Seems like such a nice family. What`s the lesson?
SCOTT STRUTHERS: The end result should have been that there just should have been stop, you know, stop the fight, no fight. That should have been the end result. You know, no way around that. I know sometimes it`s easier said than done. Not with me, but with the kids. And I know that you know, I mean, it`s popular out there. The kids, they fight, they do that. They go to places. They circle -- you know, they have 150 kids show up, and it`s an epidemic.
It`s really out of hand. Jake, he was dealing with that so long. He was changing as a person. Changed his school schedule around a little bit to take the second part of the day home from online classes rather than staying in school. Jake always was one that just avoided conflict. He is the quiet one, and he`s just an awesome, awesome, awesome son and person. Very proud of him and everything he`s done his entire life and the person that he stands for. He did, you know, it just happened so quick for him, but -- I know when that fight was over, and there`s a couple of things that that tape doesn`t show.
That when the fight was over, the other boy said, and I want to add, nobody was hurt during the fight, but the other boy said it was finished. He was finished with it. And I did ask him, was he finished with the threats and the six-plus months of vulgar, you know, attitude and comments and he said it was done. He said it was squashed. And the boys shook hands. And then, they got in their car and left.
And it was -- they showed up, you know, at my house and there was -- the one boy and five others that he came up with. So, it was -- they shook hands. He left. I want to say one thing. Jake, I see on his face, when that was over and it took him all that time to where he, you know, decided that there was just no other way that he was going to be able to get this person to leave him alone, he wasn`t going away, that there was a weight lifted off his shoulders when that boy drove off there that day.
And it was short lived. And, you know, there were some more comments made after that, but nonetheless, looking back on it, Dr. Drew, to answer your question, yes, there should have been any other means than that result that would have been a better result than what this is for sure.
PINSKY: Yes. I think there`s no doubt about that. The fact is if we were working with a couple young males in this problem, violence is the last thing we would recommend. It doesn`t work for anybody, ends up with you with court problems, ends up with the kids with injuries. It ends up with more violence, more aggression. I mean, the -- I mean, there are stories out there replete with escalating violence ending in a bad place. It never goes to a good place. Now, Scott`s attorney is here. We`re going to talk to him next.
But first, my colleague, Joy Behar. Joy, what`s on tonight?
JOY BEHAR, HOST: Hey, Drew, my hot little lead-in.
BEHAR: Make sure you watch my show tonight. We have Ricky Gervais on. Do you know that he has giant steel shutters in his house that he seals every night? Think he has some issues? I`m just saying.
PINSKY: We`re back with the Struthers family. Dad, Scott, went to jail for coaching his son to battle a bully. Joining us is John Trevena, he is Scott Struthers` attorney. John, what kind of trouble is Scott in?
JOHN TREVENA, SCOTT STRUTHERS` ATTORNEY: Well, he`s been arrested, but he`s not been formally charged yet. And in Florida, what happens is that the law enforcement officers present the case to the state attorney, then the state attorney makes a decision as to what charges, if any, are really appropriate based on the totality of the facts.
PINSKY: I saw -- I saw the judge`s reaction and he was -- he was upset, you know? And he used some very firm, stern language on Scott. Do you think Scott is likely to face time in jail?
TREVENA: I do not. First of all, in Florida, there is a case (ph) law that says that you cannot maintain a felony child abuse charge based solely upon verbal provocation. There has to be some physical action, physical neglect, something more than mere words. So, the worst case scenario we`re looking at here is a misdemeanor encouraging or inducing a minor to commit a delinquent act. And that case, that type of case with someone who has no prior criminal history is not going to result in any type of jail time.
But there are more important questions here, too, and you raised this earlier about, what do we do in these situations? How do we handle these situations? It pains me to read the blogs and see person after person write, this is just another example of red neck trailer trash acting out, fighting, doing inappropriate things with their children, and that`s entirely not the case here. We`re dealing with an educated family, a very successful family. And --
PINSKY: So, what do we do?
TREVENA: Well, that`s an excellent question. I don`t think the criminal justice system is the answer, though.
PINSKY: I`m delighted to hear you say that. I hate the idea that laws are the answer to asking us to behave civilly toward one another. And I`ve heard tremendous contrition on the part of Scott. He feels horrible about this, but, the reality is bullying is going on every day in this country. The legal system is beginning to step in. Do you, John, can you give us some framework for a solution here?
TREVENA: Well, what I think would be a better approach would be that the school system, the counselors, the law enforcement agencies take a more serious approach to the complaints when these types of complaints are made. I mean, let`s face it. If there were no video in this case, this case would have been laughed out of any police station. It would have laughed out of any counselor`s office. No one would have taken it seriously. It`s only when there`s a video. It`s only when there`s that --
PINSKY: Ten seconds, John.
TREVENA: That in your face evidence. And I think that what we need to is we need to really take these allegations more seriously before someone does get seriously hurt.
PINSKY: I`m going to interrupt you, and I am delighted to hear you say that. I agree with you that watching it, hopefully, will send a message that we got to take these things very, very seriously and steps to intervene much earlier than what we`re watching here. I`m out of time. Thank you for watching. We`ll see you next time.