Television talk show host “Dr. Phil” McGraw’s show helped a central Florida teenager accused of taking part in a videotaped beating bond out of jail, a spokeswoman confirmed Saturday.
Staff members for the “Dr. Phil” talk show helped Mercades Nichols — one of eight teens facing charges in the case — post bond this weekend, McGraw spokeswoman Theresa Corigliano said in an e-mail.
“We have helped guests and potential guests in the past when they need financial assistance to come on the show — assisting with clothing allowance, lost wages, accommodations, travel and necessities,” Corigliano wrote. “In this case, certain staff members went beyond our guidelines (re the bail being paid). These staff members have been spoken to and our policies reiterated. In addition, we have decided not to go forward with the story as our guidelines have been compromised.”
Late Saturday night, Polk County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Scott Wilder said only two of the eight teens remained jailed.
The eight teens, whose ages range from 14 to 18, face kidnapping and misdemeanor battery charges. Three also face a felony charge of witness tampering.
They are accused of participating in a violent beating of another teenager, which was videotaped and has now been viewed widely on national TV and the Internet.
A judge set bails ranging from $30,000 to $37,000 for each during their first court appearances Friday. The state attorney’s office says all will be tried as adults.
McGraw drew criticism earlier this year when he confronted troubled pop star Britney Spears at the UCLA Medical Center during a stay at the facility.
At one point, McGraw had planned an episode of the “Dr. Phil” show about Spears, but quickly abandoned the idea. He has since apologized for discussing his visit publicly — but not for going to see her.