The mother of Nova Scotia teenager Rehtaeh Parsons is filming a segment on the U.S. talk show Dr. Phil, hours after the television therapist triggered an onslaught of criticism with a tweet asking if it is OK to have sex with a drunk girl.
Leah Parsons will be appearing on the program months after her daughter, who was from Cole Harbour, died following a suicide attempt.
Two 18-year-olds have been charged with child pornography in connection with the case and will be back in court in September. They can't be named because they were 17 at the time of the alleged offences.
According to Rehtaeh's parents, four boys sexually assaulted their daughter at a house party when she was 15. She was then said to have been mocked by classmates, enduring relentless harassment and humiliation after a digital photo of the attack was circulated at school and on social media.
Phil McGraw, the American clinical psychologist who dispenses advice via his afternoon talk show, tweeted: "If a girl is drunk, is it OK to have sex with her? Reply yes or no to @drphil #teensaccused” to more than 1.1 million followers.
The question garnered a mix of disgust and anger.
“You know good and goddamn well that 'asking' when a girl 'deserves' to be raped is a destructive question in itself,” tweeted user Rad-Femme Lawyer.
“Why are you looking for a greenlight to rape from Twitter,” said @seattlecolonial.
Eventually, #drphilquestions began trending online.
“Is it OK to blame @Oprah for the monster that she has created? #drphilquestions,” wrote Twitter user @Ebje.
Family trying to educate massive audience
Rehtaeh’s father, Glen Canning, said her mother is in Hollywood for the show. He said the family wants to educate a wider audience about their story.
Canning said he provided the show with photos of his daughter, who died in April.
Parsons pre-taped part of her appearance on Wednesday and is shooting another segment before a live audience on Thursday.
According to her Facebook feed, she's feeling nervous about the appearance.
"Time to get up and get ready for the first part of the Dr. Phil show. They tape the 'getting to know you' portion first. Then tomorrow live. Deep breaths!” she wrote.
“Now the hard part ... keeping myself together emotionally and what to wear!”
Calls to Leah Parsons and her partner Jason Barnes weren't returned.