A day after a group of doctors demanded the removal of Mehmet Oz, best known as the host of the controversial “The Dr. Oz Show,” from his faculty position at Columbia University Medical Center, the university defended its association with the celebrity doctor. Responding to the group of physicians, Doug Levy, a spokesman for Columbia, reportedly said that the university was committed to “the principle of academic freedom.”
“As I am sure you understand and appreciate, Columbia is committed to … upholding faculty members’ freedom of expression for statements they make in public discussions,” Levy reportedly wrote. Oz has been a professor at the Department of Surgery at Columbia University since 2001.
Earlier, on Wednesday, a group of 10 physicians from across the country -- led by Henry Miller of Stanford University -- signed a letter, addressed to Lee Goldman, Columbia’s dean of medicine, reportedly calling Oz’s continued association with the institution “unacceptable.”
“Dr. Oz has repeatedly shown disdain for science and for evidence-based medicine, as well as baseless and relentless opposition to the genetic engineering of food crops. Worst of all, he has manifested an egregious lack of integrity by promoting quack treatments and cures in the interest of personal financial gain,” the doctors reportedly wrote in the letter, adding that Oz is guilty of “either outrageous conflicts of interest or flawed judgments about what constitutes appropriate medical treatments.”
Oz, who has frequently appeared as a health expert on several television shows in addition to his hugely popular show, has been frequently criticized in the past for endorsing unscientific alternative medicines and treatments, including faith healing, reiki and homeopathy. In June last year, a Senate subcommittee slammed Oz for deceiving consumers by promoting “miracle” weight loss treatments such as green coffee beans.
At the time, Oz had acknowledged that many of the items promoted on his show did not have the “scientific muster to present as fact.”