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Final Goodbye to Reality Star Who Took His Own Life; "Hot Sauce Mom" Guilty Of Child Abuse
Aired August 24, 2011 - 21:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST: So here we go.
The final goodbye for a reality TV star who took his own life. So why aren`t rumors about his suicide being laid to rest?
And the hot sauce mom convicted of child abuse. Is she also guilty of exploiting her child just to be on TV?
You`re going to love this -- little kids, little children, on diets. No.
Let`s go figure this out.
And today the funeral for reality star Russell Armstrong. In the middle of it all, speculation and rumors surrounding his suicide. Russell`s troubled marriage to Taylor Armstrong unfolded on "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills," but what exactly pushed the 47-year-old to take his own life?
Watch this and then we will talk.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: "Real Housewives" star Russell Armstrong`s funeral is later today.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right now the big story with this is whether or not they are going to cancel the show. Will they? I don`t think so.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These are adults who wanted to be a part of this.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It may look like I have it all, but I want more.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You do a TV show, and you are allowed to be you. You draw the line of what you will and will not allow to be shown.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bravo is saying that they are re-editing it, that they`re pushing back the premiere date. I think Bravo has a big decision to make here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Did Russell Armstrong`s role on "Housewives" play a role in his suicide?
Here`s what his step-mother, Gladys, told "Good Morning America." Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GLADYS ARMSTRONG, RUSSELL ARMSTRONG`S STEP-MOTHER: I know the show ruined his life. I believe in my heart. I know that, because Russell was not what he was made out to be.
I think that Taylor was a little bit responsible. He just was pushed to the limit with her and trying to keep up to, say, with the Jones.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: And former "Housewives" star of New Jersey, Danielle Staub, shared this cautionary warning about reality shows generally. Watch this one.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANIELLE STAUB, FMR. STAR, "REAL HOUSEWIVES OF NEW JERSEY": I relate to the darkness he`s experiencing prior to taking his own life. I have gone there a few times.
It`s very difficult when everyone is coming at you and judging you, and especially when they really don`t know you. I can understand that feeling. I relate to it and I empathize with everything that they`re all going through.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: And here tonight with me, Ronald Richards. He is Russell Armstrong`s friend and attorney. Melanie Bromley, with "US Weekly" magazine. Mariel Hemingway is an Academy Award-nominated actress. Her family has been touched by suicide and mood disturbances for generations.
And Simon Barney starred on "The Real Housewives of Orange County" with his then-wife Tamara. Now, he strongly believes he would still be married if he had not appeared on the show.
In fact, Simon, my wife and I have an ongoing -- I don`t want to say it`s a joke. We say specifically, let`s stay away from the cameras, because every time cameras come into someone`s house, the marriages split up. What do you say to that?
SIMON BARNEY, FMR. CAST MEMBER, "THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ORANGE COUNTY": That`s good advice. I definitely --
PINSKY: I appreciate that. What is it about these reality shows that have such a dark side?
BARNEY: You know, you`ve got to understand what the object of the whole show -- it`s for drama. So, you know, they`re going to take the five percent of your life, and usually it`s the bad side, it`s the dramatic, and they`re going to exaggerate it to fulfill the pressures of the shows, the networks. You know, the cast, the producers.
They`ve got an agenda. So, you know, take that percentage of your life, and it`s going to be shown in a way that you probably don`t want it.
PINSKY: And Simon, some people sort of criticize the production elements in the show saying that they are sort of forced and manipulated, or somehow provoked in certain kinds of behaviors, and then that`s what`s shown on TV.
Was that your experience?
BARNEY: Well, legally, I can`t answer that because I am under contract with Bravo. So there`s things I can`t comment on, and that`s one of them.
PINSKY: That`s interesting.
BARNEY: But, I mean, it`s pretty simple to figure out.
PINSKY: OK. I don`t want to put you in any kind of problematic position. But that`s very interesting. And I want to talk a little later in the show about the issues of contracting and consenting for these things.
I want to show now a clip from "The Real Housewives of Orange County" featuring a rather tense moment between Simon Barney and his then-wife Tamara. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ORANGE COUNTY")
BARNEY: You`re not even the same person I knew two years ago. I never really intervened --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`re not the same person I knew two years ago. I had an event to go to.
BARNEY: You did and you --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I take my kids daily. I`m with my kids every day.
BARNEY: Yes. We know, both, that you`re not.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Really? Well, if you were working and making money, we wouldn`t be in this (EXPLETIVE DELETED) situation. You`re a (EXPLETIVE DELETED). (EXPLETIVE DELETED) you.
(END VIDEO CLIP, "REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ORANGE COUNTY")
PINSKY: Simon, that stuff has got to be hard to watch.
My question, though, is, would scenes like that not have been happening to you were it not for the intensity of the circumstances created by the cameras?
BARNEY: Oh, I would definitely agree that it heightens everything that`s going on in your life. That scene right there was really difficult.
The conversation started out in a bad way because of -- you know, as you heard from the conversation, I didn`t feel like my wife was doing what a mother or a housewife -- you know, that`s what she was, and there was an agreement between her and I that, you know, our kids come first, our family comes first.
And, you know, that conversation, there were things that were bothering me. There were things that weren`t being taken care of. And the show was consuming. And that was -- that`s what I am. I`m a family person.
PINSKY: Hey, Simon, one last question. I think you mentioned to me once that you felt like fame was a drug, and that this is sort of giving people a taste of the needle in a way. And that`s what causes some of the escalation.
Do you agree with that statement?
BARNEY: Right. I mean, I`m a real analytical person. And the way that I observed it, fame is a drug.
There is research that is done that there are certain endorphins that are given off when people feel recognized, or that fame. Like Twitter -- that`s why Twitter is so successful now. When people get responses to their Twitters, they get a little kind of fulfillment of being somewhat of a celebrity. And I think that`s what it is.
And you know, like, as you know -- you`ve treated a lot of people that are addicted to drugs -- you`ll do anything for a fix. You`ll sell your family out. You`ll steal, you`re lie. And that`s what it is.
It`s like a fix, and you need that fix. You need that next piece of fame, that next recognition. And I think it`s -- I don`t know. It`s a disease I guess I`m immune to.
PINSKY: That`s very interesting.
Now, Melanie, you`re with me here on the panel. Russell Armstrong`s funeral was held today. What can you tell us about that?
MELANIE BROMLEY, "US WEEKLY": Well, we know it happened at Forest Lawn, and we know some of the other housewives actually went. Kyle (ph) went and Lisa went.
What we don`t know yet, actually, and something that I would like to know, is whether it was possibly filmed for the show. I would really like to know the answer to that, because that`s something --
PINSKY: Hang on. Let me ask Ronald.
You bristled a little bit at that. Do you know the answer to that one?
RONALD RICHARDS, ATTORNEY FOR RUSSELL ARMSTRONG: I don`t think it was filmed for the show at Bravo.
PINSKY: That seems like horribly bad taste to have done that.
BROMLEY: But, you know, these reality TV shows, it`s about -- this is a part of the storyline. It`s something that happened to one of the housewives, so it will be interesting to see, now in the aftermath of the tragedy, what is going to be filmed and what isn`t? What`s going to be off limits and what Taylor will allow to be filmed.
PINSKY: Do you know something about that?
RICHARDS: Well, they would also have to get releases from all the people attending. And I know none of the people in Russell`s family would ever consent to that.
PINSKY: Would allow that. That makes sense.
Now, Mariel, you have mood disturbances throughout your family. And it seems like there`s a lot of blaming going on right now, some people blaming the show, blaming fame, blaming all kinds of things for a suicide.
Do you have a reaction to that?
MARIEL HEMINGWAY, ACTRESS: Yes, I do, because I think what people have to understand is, you know, Russell had a mental illness. Obviously. You don`t commit suicide out of the blue, and it`s not promoted by somebody, you know, doing a television show, although I`m sure there was tremendous stress.
He had financial issues and all of these different things. But really, mental issues happen inside of the person. And sometimes it happens within 20 minutes. There is something that goes off. There`s chemistry.
And like we were talking before, you know, the chemistry was off. Somebody gave him a Xanax, apparently, or something.
And when that happens, you don`t know -- a person becomes extremely volatile. And what they do is -- you know, so you`re talking about somebody, a human being, who has done something. And this has nothing to do with a reality show. It has something to do with the human being.
PINSKY: The human and his brain chemistry, as you say.
And I want to articulate again this for our viewer audience, which is that, again, we`re talking about mood disturbances, unipolar depression or bipolar depression. Something a lot of people don`t realize, that bipolar, which is manic depression -- people get very manicky and then they`re depressed -- are actually more likely to kill themselves when they are manic.
So, if they get on an antidepressant and get high, get up, they get too high, then they kill themselves, not when they`re depressed. We don`t even know if that`s something that could have gone on here.
But later, I`ve got a question. Would you ever do what a hot sauce mom did to punish your child? It`s disgusting. Maybe you`ve even done worse. I hope not, but we`re going to get into that ahead.
But next, Russell Armstrong`s first wife is allegedly blaming -- again, this blame game -- blaming his estranged wife Taylor for his suicide. And you won`t believe what she is actually alleging.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ARMSTRONG: It turned into a terrible tragedy. He was so distraught toward the end of it. And before the new season started, before he took his life, he said, "Mom, they`re just going to crucify me this season. And he said, "I don`t know what to do." He said, "I`ll never survive it."
And I thought he meant business-wise or something. Now I guess there was a double meaning there. I don`t know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAREEN WYNTER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: You`re so vocal when it comes to speaking out about domestic violence. And with the allegations, is that going to be addressed on the show?
TAYLOR ARMSTRONG, "REAL HOUSEWIVES OF BEVERLY HILLS": You have to tune in and see. But a lot of the issues in my marriage are definitely addressed this year.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: That was HLN`s entertainment correspondent Kareen Wynter speaking with Taylor Armstrong just two weeks before Taylor`s estranged husband, which we have all been hearing about in the news these days, her estranged husband Russell, had committed suicide.
Since Russell`s death, we have learned that Bravo is re-editing the show. So whether or not their marital issues will be featured is still up in the air. Whether they are going to be filming the funeral we talked about in the last segment, gross, but maybe it`s going to happen. I doubt it.
Now, Melanie, my understanding is Taylor is shopping for her first interview. Is that right? And asking for a lot of money?
BROMLEY: That`s right. We were told last week that she has asked for money in order to do the first interview. And also, we were told that there may be some pictures that are coming on the market, because she`s kept a kind of photographic catalog of some of the injuries that she sustained.
PINSKY: So she`s going to be selling pictures of the alleged domestic violence. Is that --
BROMLEY: We were told that there were some pictures. I don`t know if they are coming from Taylor, but she would have taken them. But we were definitely told that she was trying to get money for her first interview.
PINSKY: Ronald, do you know anything about that?
RICHARDS: I know nothing about it. I just know there has been never a documented incident of domestic violence.
PINSKY: OK. Fair enough.
Now, while many have gathered around Taylor Armstrong to offer support, Russell`s ex-wife is alleging that Taylor`s responsible for his death. Here is what she told "Radar Online."
She says, "I don`t care for her at all. I think she is the reason for this." We even heard the mom saying a little bit about this too.
"She is not who she says she is. And I told him to please be careful with this woman. She is bad news, and she drove him into this."
"I don`t think it was the show. I think she drove him into financial distress, and it just ruined him."
Ronald, do you place any of the blame at the foot of Taylor?
RICHARDS: I place her at just one of the causes of --
PINSKY: Of stresses? Of the stressors?
RICHARDS: Yes. I mean, he wanted the marriage to work. The marriage became the show, and he couldn`t get out of it. And so it ended -- when she ended the marriage, it was a factor in him ending his life.
Just a factor. Just a factor.
PINSKY: A factor.
And Mariel, we were talking before the break how stress does destabilize chemistry, but it doesn`t cause mental illness usually. It brings out a predisposition, perhaps.
HEMINGWAY: Yes. And it can trigger what`s probably been in his chemistry for a very, very long time. And again, I just have to get back to the human aspect of this.
HEMINGWAY: We have family members who have lost -- we have a daughter who has lost their father, we have a mother who has lost their son.
PINSKY: It`s so sad.
HEMINGWAY: We have so many sad things.
HEMINGWAY: And really, what for me it`s about, you know, suicide is a big deal. And mental illness is a big deal that people don`t want to talk about.
And aside from the show -- and I haven`t watched the show, I don`t know about these people. And I`m sure Taylor is a fine person, or whatever. But he was obviously suffering.
HEMINGWAY: And people weren`t able to see it. And that`s what`s really interesting about suicide is oftentimes, you don`t get a sign. Sometimes it happens.
Like I said before, sometimes it`s a 20-minute snap, and you just lose all sense of who you are, and this thing happens. But there`s so many people who are suffering, and not understanding and not able to make sense of what`s going on. And I think we have to realize there`s a family involved.
PINSKY: Well, I want to reiterate what you just said, sort of hang a lantern on this, because I think it`s an important point, which is that this is a real person. There are really people suffering here.
There`s a little girl, there`s an ex-wife, there`s a mom grieving. And it`s about suicide.
And we have a strange way of thinking about suicide in this country as though it`s, oh, it`s just another behavior, just another choice. No. Suicide is a symptom of a severe biological change in the brain -- either a severe manic episode or a severe depressive episode -- where the thinking associated with suicide becomes a rational choice. An irrational choice seems rational, and that`s a mental disturbance.
Do you agree?
HEMINGWAY: Yes, absolutely. And people often think, you know, how could they be so selfish?
PINSKY: They`re not thinking that way. They are not in their normal mind.
HEMINGWAY: And they are in this place where they thinking about gone is a better solution for the whole world.
PINSKY: It makes sense.
HEMINGWAY: It doesn`t make sense to us being on the outside. But I think that we really have to come from a human place.
PINSKY: It`s almost -- it`s similar to the kinds of things that women do in a postpartum depression when they injure their children. They actually believe they are doing something good for their child, many of these women, in that altered state.
HEMINGWAY: Yes. And it is an altered state. It`s chemistry.
PINSKY: It is an altered state. That`s right.
OK. I want to go back to this issue of the battering and all that stuff.
So, did he batter Taylor, was the question. And you mentioned a photo. My producers have come up with a disturbing photo showing -- there she is there with a mysterious gash above Taylor`s -- I think it`s her left eye.
This was taken allegedly just days before Russell`s suicide. Friends are insisting that the injury occurred while Taylor was playing a game of football, and this was in fact not inflicted by Russell.
Melanie, what are your sources saying about something like this?
BROMLEY: That that was actually from a soccer match. But, you know, Taylor is somebody --
PINSKY: So we say football. It was soccer?
PINSKY: I mean, was it American football?
BROMLEY: But, you know, Taylor has been very open about the abuse that she alleges took place in the marriage. She has already done -- she did an interview two weeks before Russell`s death about it. The first time that she was on the set with all the other housewives, when she first signed up for the show, it was the first thing that she told all the cast and crew.
PINSKY: Wait a second. You`re saying the first thing she told --
BROMLEY: Back to season one.
PINSKY: And I`ll let you talk in a second, Ronald.
BROMLEY: Season one.
PINSKY: She told the cast and crew that she was a victim of domestic violence?
PINSKY: And no one referred that to social services? There wasn`t some -- listen, do you understand that in the state of California, anyone with a license has an obligation to refer it immediately, or we are guilty of a criminal offense?
Ronald, speak to this.
PINSKY: So somebody should have said something.
BROMLEY: Well, what we have been told is that during season one, it was an open secret between the cast and the crew --
PINSKY: Wait a minute. I can`t get --
BROMLEY: -- that she was in an abusive marriage.
PINSKY: But understand something.
PINSKY: Abusive is --
RICHARDS: That`s the operative word. Abusive is different than domestic violence.
Domestic violence, you have to understand, triggers an obligation to report. And if no one reported it, that means there`s lots of people guilty of a crime.
PINSKY: That`s a disturbing thing if that`s true.
BROMLEY: She was very open about the problems that were in her marriage.
RICHARDS: And that`s what she reported to "People," she was in an abusive marriage.
PINSKY: OK. So hold on. I want to be very clear. We can`t confirm nor deny who knew what, whether the cast and crew knew something or didn`t know something.
But we`ve got less than a minute. I want you to address these allegations that we`re hearing.
RICHARDS: Well, there has never been a documented incident of abuse. If she did get injured after she filed for divorce, it would have been in her legal advantage to actually file a police report. She would actually do better in the divorce.
It`s very suspicious that all these allegations are coming out after he died. No reports, no 911 calls. No prior police reports, no filings in a court. It`s just simply -- it`s come out of thin air really.
PINSKY: How about this picture that my producer got their hands on? Do you think she was putting that out trying to build a case against him?
BROMLEY: I can`t possibly say.
PINSKY: I don`t know either. OK.
Thank you, guys.
Mariel, Melanie, Ronald, thank you very much.
RICHARDS: Thank you so much.
PINSKY: When we come back, a book that puts the bite on heavy kids. Not a bad idea, but they are forcing little kids to diet and to feel bad about their bodies. You`re not going to believe this. You`ll see it next.
But later, the hot sauce mom is guilty of child abuse. Is she guilty of using abuse to seek fame?
Stay with us.
PINSKY: It`s a bedtime story that`s got parents` blood boiling. "Maggie Goes on a Diet." That depicts a girl who becomes happier by losing weight -- there it is there -- but it did not have a happy ending for the highly- criticized author.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL KRAMER, AUTHOR, "MAGGIE GOES ON A DIET": I am amazed, absolutely amazed. I had no idea that anything like this would ever happen. My intentions were just to write a story to entice and to have children feel better about themselves.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Well, Paul Kramer says we`re judging his book by its cover, but I want to listen to what you have to say.
Here is Laura in Long Beach.
LAURA, LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA: Hi, Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: Hey, Laura.
LAURA: I just wanted to make a comment. I don`t believe in the whole diet theory. To me, it`s a lifestyle that the whole family must adopt and subscribe to.
And as a mother of a 5-year-old girl, it kind of makes me sad to even think that such a book would be in publication. I really think it`s the wrong message to send.
PINSKY: I agree with you.
Let`s be clear here that we have an obesity problem in this country. But to shame kids and to preoccupy kids, I don`t think, I agree with you, is the right message.
And I agree it`s about healthy living, healthy eating. Not about going on a diet or shaming you about your body.
Let`s go to Mary in Missouri.
Mary, what are your thoughts?
MARY, MISSOURI: Hi, Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: Hi, Mary.
MARY: You know, I can see no good reason for this book. My mother started in on me at the age of 6. "You should only have one plate." Or "You`d be so much cuter if you just lose 10 pounds."
It scarred me for life. And I still struggle with my weight and all of the related health issues because of her views.
PINSKY: You know what? I think you brought up a really important point up here, is that we don`t want to sort of overshoot in our attempts to address the obesity problem by causing mental health issues and eating disorders.
I mean, Sarah writes this on Facebook: "How often do you have to have a patient tell you that the reason for their problems, whatever it may be, is a result of something stemming from their childhood?"
And as you just heard, I think it was Mary from Missouri said, yes, of course. I mean, here is the thing about the human being -- that everything that -- when the brain is still plastic and developing, it has -- things that happen have a profound effect on the trajectory of its development.
A way of saying this is that things that happen early in life have a disproportionate effect on all else that is to follow. That`s simply how the human brain works.
Shawn writes, "I think the book is a great idea. Maybe, at best, it has a few bugs to work out. However, I think with obesity levels rising, this book can be a motivating tool."
And, well, that`s what the author intended, and I get that. But, boy this really goes at the -- it sort of hits a note here that tells us we have to be cautious with this.
And by the way, one thing that I have always thought gets left out of the conversation is this obesity epidemic. Some of it is on an emotional basis, isn`t it, already?
We may make that worse, but people are overeating to fill an emptiness, to regulate emotions. And we really never, ever talk about that. We talk about how lousy our diets are. Let`s talk about why -- what motivates eating as well.
OK. Alison tweets -- oh, excuse me.
Next, hot sauce, video that got a mother in hot water with the law. Who is really to blame for that, the mom, a TV show? Are they the reason that she put this up there, that motivated her to do this? The viewers, are they to blame?
We`re going to have some answers after this.
DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST: Tonight, a jury has convicted the so-called Hot Sauce Mom, Jessica Beagley of child abuse. The swift hand of justice came down firm and hard from the three-man, four-woman jury. Watch this. I want to warn you. Some of what you may see is disturbing. Now, take a look.
PINSKY (voice-over): Child abuse. This video of the crime exposed by Dr. Phil on his show about angry moms was shown to the jurors.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why did you lie to me?
UNIDENTIFIED KID: I did not want to get in trouble.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You didn`t want to get in trouble. Does it work to lie to me?
UNIDENTIFIED KID: No.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What happens when you lie to me?
UNIDENTIFIED KID: I get hot sauce.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You get hot sauce. What else happens when you lie to me?
UNIDENTIFIED KID: I get the cold shower.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you get in more trouble for lying to me?
UNIDENTIFIED KID: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why did you pull a blue card?
UNIDENTIFIED KID: Because I was fighting.
PINSKY: Beagley and her police officer husband refused public comment after the verdict. Her attorney said this on ABC`s "Good Morning America."
WILLIAM INGALDSON, BEAGLEY`S ATTORNEY: It`s been a long ordeal. And, I`m sure that this is quite upsetting.
PINSKY: She`ll be sentenced next week. She faces up to a year in prison and a $10,000 fine.
PINSKY (on-camera): I must tell you, when I see that video with that little boy, it just pains me. I`m at a loss for words. And, people are asking the question, is that discipline or is that abuse? That`s abuse. Now, was she at wit`s end in disciplining this adopted child? Or, in fact, some are alleging that she produced this videotape to get on a television show.
Joining me tonight, Dr. Harvey Karp, pediatrician, child development specialist, and author of "The Happiest Baby" and "Happiest Toddler on the Block." There is his book. Attorney Lisa Bloom, she is author of the book "Think." And on the phone from Alaska, Anchorage Daily News reporter, Casey Grove, is with us. And I`ve got Jessica Beagley`s attorney, William Ingaldson also joins us via phone. Bill, you first. What is your client`s reaction to the verdict?
INGALDSON: Well, we`re disappointed with the verdict based on Alaska law, based on this ordinance. And I also want to say that the -- while the video, certainly, is disturbing to anyone, you know, there`s a lot more that, of course, we don`t hear in those kind of shows in terms of what went on and reasons for the types of discipline.
The jury verdict, by the way, every one of the jurors said that it wasn`t -- that we talked to afterwards, myself and the prosecutor, said it wasn`t the hot sauce. It wasn`t the cold shower, but really, it was the accumulation of things and the fact that this was videotaped.
PINSKY: Well, I have a pediatric specialist here, in fact, Dr. Karp. And we were talking a little bit off the air, and there`s some allegations that the attorney is saying that this was the culmination of disciplinary actions. And we`ve heard the child maybe has reactive attachment disorder.
Tell us a little bit about reactive attachment disorder. Why that video did not look like the kid had that? And what would appropriate discipline be for the kid even if he did have a reactive attachment disorder?
HARVEY KARP, PEDIATRICIAN: Sure. Well, attachment is when you develop a trusting relationship through all the love and respect that you get growing up. And reactive attachment is when kids have such a chaotic world, chaotic life, like a kid growing up in an orphanage --
PINSKY: He was an orphan child, Lisa, from Russia, is that right?
LISA BLOOM, ATTORNEY/AUTHOR: That`s correct.
PINSKY: OK. And so, go ahead. I`m sorry.
KARP: They don`t develop a good relationship. So, they`re either become over scared or over reactive. That`s why it`s called reactive. And they`re screaming a lot and fighting a lot. Or even they`re seductive. They build relationships with strangers who normal kids would never go up to.
PINSKY: But this child, we see him, makes good eye contact here. The teachers say he was doing OK at school.
PINSKY: Even if he were out of control reactive attachment child, discipline like that, is that appropriate? Is that even called discipline?
KARP: Well, you know, it is discipline. I mean, it`s bad discipline, but I don`t think any parent in the world would do that, would hit their kids if they had a good way -- if they had a way that was working for them that they could be respectful. From what I understand, this woman had tried time-out, had tried other things and was really at her wit`s end.
BLOOM: Dr. Drew, can I just say? I`m so tired of hearing about the fact that the boy was difficult or the mom was at her wit`s end. There is no excuse for child abuse. Mom being frazzled, not an excuse. Kid having special needs, not an excuse. Child abuse is unacceptable, period. And frankly, if the child has special needs or extra problems, all the more reason not to abuse that child and make it worse.
PINSKY: Lisa, I have to say I`m on your team. But let`s look at some -- going back to the abuse issue. Let`s look at some of the possible sentence. She could face one year in jail and a $10,000 fine. Bill, I`m going to go back to you. Does your client have remorse? Do you think she is likely to serve time?
INGALDSON: Well, I certainly hope that there isn`t any jail time and would be surprised if jail time is ordered. Does she have remorse? She has remorse, obviously, for making this videotape. She has remorse that discipline methods didn`t work, but, you know, it`s easy for us to sit back that have never dealt with these kind of kids, myself included, and criticize the types of punishments that people use.
I don`t spank my kids. Some people think that that`s child abuse. I would imagine any videotape of someone spanking their kid would look like abuse, but, the problem is as (INAUDIBLE) testified at trial these kids don`t have the -- parents frequently don`t know what to do so they try different methods. When time-out doesn`t work, when taking away privileges doesn`t work, they try other methods, because they don`t have the help.
But what he also testified to is if you just shower them with love, that doesn`t work. And maybe, the doctor guest you have can address that, but I`m not an expert certainly, but what we`re told is that that doesn`t work because the children have anxiety with that. And so, it`s a combination and a difficult -- that is being done now a difficult way to try and reach out to these kids and teach them the right way.
PINSKY: Listen, admittedly, it is very difficult. I`ve worked in psychiatric hospital for 20 years. I`ve seen kids with reactive attachment. I`ve seen kids who lit their parents on fire. But, the kinds of discipline we recommend didn`t include what I`ve seen here. Here`s another clip from "Dr. Phil" episode where a Hot Sauce Mom says that her son does not respond to more common forms of discipline as we`ve been hearing. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have had him do jumping jacks before. It works for a little while until he is completely exhausted. When Kristoff lies, we put soap in his mouth.
It had no effect. So, we went to hot sauce.
We`ve been having a lot of problems. It will stay in the bathroom, so it`s handy when we need it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: All right. Dr. Karp, sometimes, parents take things too far. At what point do these actions become abuse?
KARP: Well, you know, obviously, it`s kind of that thing like pornography. You know it when you see it. I mean, you`re hitting a child in the face. You`re screaming at them. You`re name calling. That, obviously, gets much more to the scale of scarring. But to take them -- if they take this mother out of the house for a year, I think that`s abusive to their other kids.
PINSKY: And maybe to this kid too, frankly, right?
KARP: And to this kid. But, you know, one of the things that I do with my work is we now have over 3,000 educators across the country teaching parents how to calm their baby`s crying and get more sleep at night. It`s call Happy as Baby Educator Program, and the reason for that is because shaken baby syndrome, which is the number one cause of deaths from child abuse in this country, occurs more than 1,500 times a year.
We can help parents, we can teach them ways to do a better job. This -- I`m glad that this is on your show, because it`s an indictment to all of us in the medical community that we and social communities, we need to do a better job to help support families.
BLOOM: Can I also say? I know that "The Dr. Phil Show" sent them to therapy and to get medical evaluations after the show, and that she didn`t engage in these behaviors after that. So, she must have learned another way to deal with the child after the show.
PINSKY: I think that`s the point Dr. Karp is making is that when you do have access to good care and appropriate --
BLOOM: And everyone deserves that, actually.
PINSKY: Now, Casey, Casey is on the phone here with us still. You were in court yesterday. What was Jessica`s demeanor like when the verdict was read? And did she or her police officer husband, Gary, answer questions when they left the courtroom?
VOICE OF CASEY GROVE, ANCHORAGE DAILY NEWS REPORTER: Well, she stood. Mr. Ingaldson stood with her, and you couldn`t really see much sign of any outward emotion there. And pretty much just after the verdict was read, they walked out of the courtroom and didn`t respond to any questions in any way. And pretty soon were heading down a stairwell on the outside.
PINSKY: You know, I wonder, should "the Dr. Phil Show" producers bear responsibility. Lisa, do you think they should?
BLOOM: Absolutely not. In fact, they helped her. They didn`t set this up. She did this in her own home with her own child holding the camera. And I`ve read the transcript of the show. From the very first words out of his mouth, Dr. Phil condemns her behavior, calls it abusive throughout the show, says what she did is terrible. Everybody in the audience agrees, and then sent her for help, and the behavior stopped. So, I think they should be commended for what they did.
PINSKY: Again, this is something we`ve been sort of addressing tonight all across the show this evening is how much does wanting to be on television, the fact that somebody signs away their rights and privileges when they go on TV--
BLOOM: She wanted to out of her own heart. That`s a different question.
PINSKY: But it`s the question I`ve been asking across the show tonight is, you know, does the cameras have a good effect --
KARP: But she says over and over again, what happens when you tell a lie? I get hot sauce. What happens if you`re not -- you`re put in the shower. This has happened many times in that household.
BLOOM: And the hot sauce is sitting there on the bathroom from previous incidents waiting to be used again.
PINSKY: Let me take a position on this and you see if both of you agree with me on this. That`s child abuse. It is child abuse. You know when you see it. I know it because I feel so -- so much pain for watching what that child is going through. I know that child is in pain, and that is not an appropriate way to parent, when you cause a child to nearly disassociate from emotional pain.
PINSKY: That`s all I`m saying.
BLOOM: Well, it`s humiliation.
PINSKY: That`s right. More on this story when we come back. We`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CYNTHIA FRANKLIN, MUNICIPAL PROSECUTOR: To actively videotape yourself punishing your child in order to try to convince a show to let you on is the abuse. I do not think that this punishment would have occurred had "The Dr. Phil Show" not called and said, please tell us how angry of a mom you are and not only tell us but show us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Well, we`ve been raising issues like this throughout the show tonight. Now, the prosecutors said Jessica used so-called sadistic punishment on her son just to get on TV. Her attorney argued that Jessica wanted Dr. Phil to help her out with the out of control seven-year-old. In fact, she did get help and it did get better. So, was the jury right to convict hot sauce mom?
Back with us are Dr. Harvey Karp, pediatrician and child development specialist. Also, Lisa Bloom joins us, and via phone from Anchorage, Alaska, and the Anchorage Daily Reporter, Casey Grove, and Jessica Beagley`s attorney, William Ingaldson. Bill, to you first. There are other kids here, and we raise the issue that, possibly, taking the mom away for a year could be abusive to these other kids. How are the other kids taking the verdict?
INGALDSON: Well, I haven`t talked to the other kids. I`m sure that, you know, one of the problems with all of this is that publicity as one of your other guests had mentioned. And, you know, that`s what the family is trying to protect the kids from at this point and trying to live as normal life as possible, which, of course, is not easy.
BLOOM: When she videotapes her kid and sent it to "The Dr. Phil Show," she can hardly now be heard to complain about publicity.
INGALDSON: No one -- I`m not excusing that that was sent to "The Dr. Phil Show," but does that give everyone else the right to continue to exploit that, because someone does something and gets on TV, and then, we continue to play this and exploit that. Who`s doing that now?
PINSKY: Well, Bill, what I`m hoping that what we`re doing is raising the issue -- yes. And so, other people -- you know, this stuff comes up all the time in my world where people go. Oh, you know, it`s not abuse to hit my kid and whatever, and we`re trying to really kind of establish what is abuse here. I`ve got an expert. Let`s take a look at the punishment that "The Dr. Phil Show" caught on tape and for which she was guilty.
Now, again, jurors saw this particular footage, and then, we`ll talk about what is and what is not abuse. Now, I want to warn you. For me, this is actually hard for me to watch. I almost have to shut my eyes and not listen, because this is a child -- let` face it. This is a suffering we`re watching here. And tell me -- and let me challenge viewers this. If you ever see a child -- it`s hard for me to even talk about it.
When you -- if you ever -- it must ring true for me somewhere, but if you ever see a child suffering like this, and it`s your child, stop. And if it`s somebody else`s, stop it. Now, look at the tape.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When Kristoff lies, we put soap in his mouth.
It had no effect. So, we went to hot sauce.
We`ve been having a lot of problems. It will stay in the bathroom, so it`s handy when we need it.
What is the consequence for pulling a card?
UNIDENTIFIED KID: Cold shower.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A cold shower. Get undressed right now.
Kristoff, why are you getting a cold shower?
UNIDENTIFIED KID: Because I pulled three cards.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You pulled three cards today.
PINSKY: And I must say, that wasn`t even as hard to watch as other part of the footage. All right. Let`s talk about it for a second. So, how do we know child abuse when we see it? For me, and I will tell you what, the reason I want to raise this issue is that, in my world, I treat drug addiction all the time and I see all kinds of personality disorders all the time, and the number one issue that I see behind all that is disassociation. Childhood experiences that are so shattering that they exceed the brain`s ability to regulate.
KARP: Yes, but as you well known, the brain is a balance of positives and negatives. You have positive experiences and negative experiences. And if you have enough love, respect, and predictable, you know, nurturance --
PINSKY: And good attachment.
KARP: And good attachment, you can deal with some negative experiences. A lot of people will tell you, I was spanked as a kid, and I grew up fine. Well, it`s not that spanking is --
PINSKY: That`s you?
KARP: I happened to be spanked when I was growing up, and I grew up fine. And I love my dad.
KARP: But the point is that, look, your grandfather probably washed his clothes at the river. It doesn`t mean you can`t learn a better way to do it. We now know good ways to discipline kids where you can get kids to be much more cooperative. You don`t have to berate them. You don`t have to name call. You don`t have to get in their face and scream at them. And this woman was trying to get other ways of helping her child.
PINSKY: Such as? Give me a couple of examples.
KARP: You narrate back to the child. So, "The Happiest Toddler" is all about that. The kid is upset, and you narrate back -- you`re so mad, you didn`t want this. You say you don`t like this something in that order. And then, you -- when the kid calms down, then you give them their consequences. Or in this case, do a time-out. I have no problem --
PINSKY: She said she tried the time-outs. They didn`t work.
KARP: Yes, but she wasn`t doing it well.
PINSKY: Right. I know there`s a way to do it. I understand that. I have triplets, and I had to learn how to -- (CROSSTALK)
PINSKY: Do you have kids?
KARP: I do, a 28-year-old.
PINSKY: And it`s different than being a pediatrician with kids.
BLOOM: And by the way, what was this kid`s crime? It was wiggling in class and having a pencil sword fight. I mean, please, this is normal seven-year-old boy behavior. I say, take him to the playground in the morning, half an hour before school, let him run around, get his energy (ph) as we do which mother say, and I guarantee you he`s going to be a lot calmer in school, but I want to make an important legal point.
KARP: It`s hard to do it in Alaska in the winter time.
BLOOM: I`m going to make an important legal point about child abuse, because I think this case is a wake-up call for everybody in America who says, I`m just doing what my parents did.
PINSKY: By the way, that is not an appropriate excuse.
PINSKY: I know because I`m fine.
BLOOM: And we now say, there don`t have to be physical scars. There were none with this child. Psychological abuse, humiliation is child abuse. That`s the finding in this case. That`s the finding across the United States in child abuse cases. If you humiliate your child, you cause physical pain or discomfort, legally, that`s child abuse.
PINSKY: And I want to remind people again, it`s the brain we`re talking about here, and the brain is a very delicate plastic organ during development, and you can shatter its capacity.
KARP: Yes, but we are also talking about a culture, and we`re talking about our people who belong to this culture. Parents don`t -- I mean, you learn Roman history in high school. You learn algebra. You learn nothing about conflict resolution and communication.
PINSKY: That`s true.
PINSKY: OK. Fair enough. Now, Casey, I`m going to out to you. What was it like inside and outside the courtroom? Was there any of the sort of Casey Anthony mob mentality going on out there? Were things pretty calm?
GROVE: No. It was nothing like that. I mean, as far as bystanders that weren`t involved in the case, no, there were no people mobbed around. In fact, most of the people in the courtroom were media. I think there were something like six TV cameras and six reporters there.
PINSKY: Has this case created any conversation up there about -- of the sort we`re having here in the room today?
GROVE: Yes, certainly. I mean, you know, I`ve gotten lots of e-mails from folks in Alaska and outside. And definitely, we see a lot of comments on the stories on our website. And, you know, sometimes, it`s hard to tell where those are coming from. But, definitely, people have been talking about it. And I think, you know, there are many people on both sides of that argument.
PINSKY: OK. Well, thank you, Casey. I want to thank Bill Ingaldson also for joining us. Lisa, Dr. Karp, thank you. Hopefully, we`ll have many more conversations just like this. Now, our judicial system works, I think, although, people haven`t seen the Casey Anthony case with take (ph) issue with that (INAUDIBLE).
Next, we`ll see if the jury got it right. Back after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Listening to what she was accusing the child of as well as the methodology that she was using was way out of order. She`s abusing the hell out of the kid or the heck out of the kid.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, I think maybe she should try the hot sauce and the cold shower herself and see how that works.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Welcome back. Hot Sauce Mom is going to be sentenced on Monday. This is a mother accused of abusing her son, and she was found guilty. As I said earlier, we saw what she did in front of the camera. How does Jessica Beagley treat her son and other kids when the cameras are not rolling? Question, Lisa, I have to you is, did the jury get this one right?
BLOOM: Absolutely, they got it right. They looked at the video. They saw cruelty. They saw child abuse. And I`m going to predict the judge is going to give her little or no jail time. You`ll be surprised to hear me say I think that`s right, because we over incarcerate our citizens. We have too many people in jail. We can`t afford it. Let`s give her parenting classes, monitor her for a year, anger management, teach her to be a good mom for all six of her kids.
PINSKY: Are you telling me that treatment as opposed to punishment is the way to go?
BLOOM: Yes, prevention.
PINSKY: Dr. Karp, do you agree with her?
KARP: Absolutely. And we should even treat people before they abuse their kids --
PINSKY: What? Hold on here --
KARP: Let educate parents, because everyone just wants to do a good job with their kids, this woman as well. And we want to support them.
PINSKY: I want to point out -- I mentioned Dr. Karp, and he said -- the name of your book is --
KARP: "The Happiest Toddler on the Block."
PINSKY: "Happiest Toddler." I did -- we had triplets, and we were out of control when they`re like three years old, and we found ourselves yelling and so we went to a behaviorist. He said read this book, "Time Out For Toddlers" --
KARP: Are there any videos of you yelling at your kids?
PINSKY: Right. That`s a great point. And it changed our life just with a few interventions. We were, you know, so much better just with that.
KARP: It can turn like that if you have the right techniques.
PINSKY: The right techniques. Again, hopefully, if I had three-year- olds again, I would go to your book. And Lisa, I agree with you. I think, in so many areas now, the idea of treatment should be -- mandated treatment, too, by the way to make sure that people are willing and follow up on what our recommendations are.
BLOOM: And there are so many good parenting classes out there. I`ve been a foster mom. I`ve seen the biological mom turn around from the parenting classes. They really can be good.
PINSKY: Good job, guys. Thank you. I appreciate the important discussion.
Now, before we go, I`m going to switch topics, and this is something I`m never going to stop talking about. It`s a problem that I believe is we`re in the middle of a tsunami of, what I call sort of the problem of our time and that is prescription drug abuse. Now, we learned yesterday that singer, Amy Winehouse, had no illegal substances in her system when she was found dead in her home on July 23rd.
I want to emphasize no illegal substances, but I do believe we are going to find out about legal substances. Amy battled alcohol and drug addiction for years. And I`m here to tell you that in my experience, my patients who are addicts who die from drugs today, they typically die from stuff that you have in your medicine cabinet. Stuff that my peers legitimately prescribe, and I believe that in Amy`s case, that is probably what happened.
I believed that from the beginning. It`s an accident. People have a very casual attitude about prescription drugs because a doctor prescribed it to me. It sits in mom`s medicine cabinet. What`s the big deal here? But the fact is, these substances are dangerous. Young people are using them at an alarming rate. Now, no matter what the cause here, I want it to mean something. Let`s stop fooling ourselves into thinking that just because something is legal it is safe.
The fact is the legal substances -- I challenge each and every one of you to look in your medicine cabinet, and you will find an opiate pain medication or a sleeping medication and/or a benzodiazepine, anti-anxiety medication left over from some procedure. Your kids see that. They see how casually we deal with this stuff. And I say, get rid of it. Teach the kids that this is as dangerous as any other substance.
Just because me and my peers prescribed it doesn`t mean it`s safe. I was raised by a family practitioner father, and he always said, use a medicine only when it`s worth the risk and that`s with all (ph) medicines. Medicines don`t necessarily make us healthier. They make us healthier when it`s worth the risk. Thanks for watching. I`ll see you next time.