A former member of Fox News’ “Medical A-Team” was reportedly sued by three female patients within the past year claiming he lured them into sexual relationships that degraded the women through beatings and bondage. One woman even got a tattoo featuring the doctor’s initials so that he could claim “ownership” of her.
According to The Boston Globe, the three malpractice lawsuits against Dr. Keith Ablow claim that he instilled feelings of distrust and “self-recrimination” while treating the women for depression. The three women involved said they relocated to Massachusetts from other states at Ablow’s request.
One Ohio woman described how she received Ketamine shots after visiting Ablow in 2015 to treat her depression and started having Skype sessions with him. Ablow reportedly began to ask the woman personal questions, then started asking her about her sexual preferences—specifically if she liked to be dominant or submissive.
“I had never had a therapist or any professional take such an interest in me,” the woman said in her affidavit, obtained by the Globe. “At some point, it became normalized and frankly necessary for me to communicate with Dr. Ablow several times a day.”
She soon moved to Newburyport to be closer to Ablow for sessions. She reportedly recalled undressing in front of him and performing oral sex. He also allegedly beat her while she kneeled on the floor.
“Sometimes he would use his hands and other times he would take off the belt he was wearing and use that to strike me,” the woman wrote. “This belt had a metal buckle with a skull on it.”
Another former patient of Ablow’s, from New York, got a tattoo of Ablow’s initials upon his request and endured allegedly abusive behavior.
“He began to hit me when we engaged in sexual activities,” she wrote in her affidavit. “He would have me on my knees and begin to beat me with his hands on my breasts,” she wrote, “occasionally saying, ‘I own you,’ or ‘You are my slave.’”
The third woman—from Minnesota—filed her lawsuit against Ablow last year, and reportedly claimed her sexual relationship with him started when he promised to help her music career while treating her. Two days after Ablow set up a meeting with her and his music producer friend, he took her to an adjoining room in his office and had sex with her.
“I remember that my mind concentrated on a ticking clock in the office to get through it,” she said.
After she stopped seeing him in November 2015, Ablow allegedly claimed she “trespassed her property”—which the woman said never occurred. Ablow also denied her malpractice claims and said she was “negligent to a greater degree” in a legal filing.
Three former co-workers of Ablow’s reportedly filed affidavits supporting the patients’ claims, and also accusing Ablow of sexual harassment. Amy Dixon, a former staffer, told the newspaper she had an on-and-off sexual relationship where he would hit her and tell her he wanted a “master/slave relationship” with her. She claimed that Ablow pointed a gun directly at her during sex at one point, and their encounters often left “bruises and abrasions.”
Another former employee, Janna McCarthy, wrote in her affidavit that he would ask her to schedule appointments with attractive women who were struggling through trauma and were “sad, lonely”—specifically during times when no one else would be in the office.
“I was concerned that he was engaging in sexual contact with some of these women,” she wrote.
Clyde Bergstresser, whose firm represents the three women, told The Daily Beast that he was “proud to represent these brave women.” He added: “I think it was very courageous for the former employees to submit affidavits for these patients.”
Ablow’s attorney, A. Bernard Guekguezian, told the Globe that Ablow denies “any and all allegations of improper behavior or substandard care in their entirety.”
“Dr. Ablow has been a respected and highly regarded psychiatrist who has for decades helped countless patients,” he told the newspaper.
Aside from his medical practice, Ablow has had a long career as a TV commentator, including a stint as Glenn Beck’s co-author and preferred on-air shrink, and perhaps most notoriously as a Fox News contributor, where he often heavily dosed his medical commentary with overtly sexist, right-wing politics.
In 2014, the psychiatrist mocked first lady Michelle Obama’s anti-obesity initiative by saying “She needs to drop a few” pounds. “Let’s be honest. We’re taking nutrition advice from who?” The following week, he told four female Fox News co-hosts that they “could lose five pounds, probably.” A year later he said “men should be able to veto women’s abortions,” and defended shushing a female interviewer as being “sort of playful and warm.”
At other points during his Fox News career, which ended in 2017, Ablow claimed that President Obama was supposedly not doing enough to protect the U.S. from an Ebola outbreak because his “affinities” lie with Africa. In another infamous instance, the quack doctor claimed Obama does not want to help Americans, adding, “unless the American people want to commit suicide as a nation and he's the guy who will push you off a cliff.”
Ablow resigned from the American Psychiatric Association in 2011 over his views on transgender issues, and has been criticized by other medical professionals, including former APA president Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, who said in 2014: “It is shameful and unfortunate that he is given a platform by Fox News or any other media organization. Basically he is a narcissistic self-promoter of limited and dubious expertise.”