September 24, 2009, - 12:18 pm

Shut Up, Mackenzie Phillips: Has-Been Addict’s Incest Claims Don’t Belong on Broadcast TV

By Debbie Schlussel

The big story in the mainstream entertainment media is that has-been, drug-addict actress Mackenzie Phillips–most famous for her role on ’70s TV sit-com, “One Day at a Time”–now claims that she and her father, “The Mamas and the Papas” singer John Phillips had an incestuous relationship for ten years, while she was an adult.


I don’t really care about the story or this has-been loser who is trying to sell books (her aptly titled book is “High on Arrival”) and make money.  But what I do care about is that this beyond-tawdry story is all over broadcast TV and not in the safe harbor hours.  It’s repulsive. First, Ms. Phillips was on Oprah, then, “Inside Edition” and “Entertainment Tonight,” and this morning, NBC’s “Today” Show, which is supposed to be a “news” operation.

With stuff like this on TV after school and in the morning, while kids are home or on their way to and from school, I can understand why some parents don’t allow any TV in their homes.  You can hear the questions.  “Mommy, Mommy, what’s incest?”  “Mommy, Mommy, is daddy going to have sex with me like that lady’s daddy did?  And what’s sex?”  “Mommy, Mommy, are daddy and I going to make a baby, like that lady did?”  “Can Daddy teach me to shoot up, too?  Can we shoot up Sweet Tarts?”

Phillips revealed that she only ended her affair (at age 29) with her father because she became pregnant and wasn’t sure whether the father of the fetus was her own father or her boyfriend.  So, she claims, her father paid for her abortion.  Oh, and dad taught her to shoot up drugs and they were stoners and addicts together.  Ah, the beauty of strong Hollywood father/daughter relationships.  For once, Oprah does a show displaying fathers in their daughters lives (she usually portrays dads as deadbeats and masters of abuse and abandonment), and this is the “example” she picks.  Figures.

Yet another great example of St. Oprah’s “change your life TV.”  Someone please tell me how “I slept with my dad and we made a baby” is any different than what’s on Springer or Maury.

This is the sickening stuff that is all over regular TV.  Not Skinemax, HBO, or Showtime, not even the Spice Channel or porn on demand.  This is after-school and morning TV.  And evening TV, too–in case your kid missed the other broadcasts of Mackenzie Phillips “I slept with and shot up with daddy” revelations.

Whether or not the claims are true, I couldn’t care less.  We already knew that Hollywood, the entertainment industry, the celebrities, the beautiful people were actually very ugly with no values.  And still are.  They’re shallow beings with no soul who are part of an accepted cult.  They worship at the altar of Sony and Warner Brothers and NBC/Universal and J Records, all of which stand for nothing.  And the drug culture they embraced and helped pimp on America does lead to this kind of behavior . . . as those of us who support the drug war have been saying.  This is the boundless, limitless behavior of Lalaland. This girl and her father had all the money and fancy mansions and accoutrements of the good life anyone could want, and yet they don’t have a shred of the class you’d find in a random American working in rural middle America, struggling to survive on a farm or in a factory.

Why must we be subjected to these revelations by an aging woman who’s almost 50?  Why is this woman doing this now and making these revelations about a her druggie dad, years after he’s dead and can’t defend himself?  Well, she snorted up all her earnings on her now decades-old show and has been repeatedly caught and arrested for her addiction to and possession of drugs, including up to a year ago.  And she needs cash.  She should be using that cash for a drug treatment center. “Buy my book!”  Plus, no-one cares about her in Hollywood, and she hasn’t had anything but a bit role in years.  She needs attention.

But not too much attention to take away from any Mamas and Papas royalties she might have had coming her way from dear old dead druggie Dad.  Maybe that’s why this sick woman is also saying how she understood the incest and thinks he was a good guy, anyway.  That’s the ticket.  Because in Hollywood, in liberal America, we can’t be judgmental.  Even of incest.  Because, you know, what might not be right for us, might be perfectly fine for others, and who are we to say how others should live their lives.  “Don’t judge.  In some cultures, that’s perfectly acceptable.”  Blecch.

Ironically, in its day, her star vehicle, “One Day at a Time,” was about this “don’t judge” tolerance BS.  It was shocking for its time.  In those days, women didn’t get divorced and raise sexually active daughters who were home alone while she worked . . . except on that show, which pushed this as cool on American pop culture. And it succeeded. How lovely–and apropos–that off-screen, it’s “liberated” teen star began sleeping with daddy.  The ultimate in throwing off those “awful,” “constraining” traditions and values of the vilified ’50s.

It’s not like we didn’t know that John Phillips–like the rest of his hippie, ’60s and ’70s drug-induced music industry bedmates–was a sleazebag.  Multiple wives, multiple girlfriends, multiple families he left and neglected–that’s his legacy.  And the drugs.  The guy was scum.  So, whether or not he and his nearly-as-scummy daughter slept together doesn’t make them any worse than we already knew they were.

Sadly, in our day and age of Oprah and Springer confessionals, the conventional wisdom is that it makes them better, cooler.  And that’s the disgusting part.  That’s what we’ve been seeing on TV in the last two days.

And that’s the saddest commentary on this whole thing.  And it’s a commentary about us, not them.

Still, other words are most appropriate here, and no-one on TV seems to know how to utter them, so I will:

Shut Up, Mackenzie Phillips! Have a little class and shut the heck up.

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29 Responses

Debbie, Thanks for shocking me back to reality and saving me the twenty five bucks I might have spent on her book! I knew of her troubled past but when I saw(not heard), her on the morning news while I was at the gym, I thought she had had some kind of epiphany and her future was bright. Boy was I wrong! You are the best shock jock-ette! Oh yeah, I agree Shut-Up Mackenzie Phillips!

Dana on September 24, 2009 at 12:43 pm

First, I just don’t believe her. At what point in time during those ten years, if it did occur, did it become consenual?

Second, she’s saying this for money.

Third, if she gets money, she will just buy MORE drugs.

Fourth, don’t go away mad, just go away.

goldenmike4393 on September 24, 2009 at 12:48 pm

Congratulations Debbie! You’ve just set us back, oh let’s say, a hundred years. Here we go again, keep it all hush-hush, sweep it under the rug, don’t air any dirty laundry, “Shut Up, Mackenzie Phillips!” If we don’t talk about it, maybe it will go away, blah, blah, blah…

Let me clear. Sexual abuse/addiction is on the rise. It is pervasive and insidious and very, very difficult to treat.

Phillip’s may have ulterior motives by revealing her abuse, much the same as you do Debbie by exposing it. Both of you enjoy vying for attention.

THK (Toronto, Canada) on September 24, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    I think you had best read a bit more. Ms. Phillips did this as an adult, and thus it was never child abuse. There is no child abuse angle here. In addition, a child was aborted as a result of this, so it was not simply a victimless act. Also, it is not a matter of hushing things up, but keeping very bizarre things like this away from children. By your logic, it would be perfectly okay to air people talking about having sex with dogs and other animals during the afternoons and early evenings. Also, how are Debbie’s postings even comparable? Did you make that connection after shooting up all afternoon?

    Sorrow01 on September 24, 2009 at 5:31 pm

    Kill your TV. Home schooling. Opt out of this Godless hell.

    DAN on October 16, 2010 at 3:13 pm

Abuse should not be kept hush hush. However, there are times and places where it is appropriate to air the laundry. Day-time TV, where children can see it, is not it. In my opinion, ALL the day-time TV should be cleaned up, and the news shows, too. We need news shows that are safe for children’s consumption, so that they can learn early to be interested in what goes on in the world, without scaring them off. More frightening (and this is frightening) stories should be shown after bedtime.

Really, it’s not as if this “news” is important, after all. What’s going on with politics, and infringements on people’s rights, changes in policy, crime reports, science and technology reports, and the like are the kinds of news stories that really make a difference. Hollywood home-life is NOT earth-shaterringly important, anyway, so it should be shunted to late-night “news” shows, where it’s all about tittilation, anyway, and people know what they’re getting.

Michelle on September 24, 2009 at 2:15 pm

I think a much greater scandal is the affair oprah had with a hippopotomaus

shmujew on September 24, 2009 at 2:16 pm

Papa is dead and there is nothing she has to say that I find of interest.

#1 Vato on September 24, 2009 at 2:23 pm

Michelle, check out day time soap operas. You will find a plethora of scandel. And here’s a real big shockeroo; children are safer watching TV, any TV, than they are from their parents, where most of the harm is done.

THK (Toronto, Canada) on September 24, 2009 at 2:29 pm

I agree that there is a time and place to discuss this, and it’s not when the kiddies are around.

I also feel a tremendous amount of compassion for a woman who did not have the benefit of decent parents like you and I had.

And all that being said, by her account, she entered into a consensual sexual relationship with her father. As an adult. I wonder why those who claim that consenting adults should be allowed to have sex, marry, etc., regardless of sexual orientation, are even remotely upset by this. If traditional values and Judeo-Christian ethics are so outdated, and so morally repugnant to you, you should be praising Mackenzie’s liberated attitude. Since I’m a square, I think this whole story is revolting.

Kelly on September 24, 2009 at 2:58 pm

*children are safer watching TV, any TV, than they are from their parents, where most of the harm is done.

THK (Toronto, Canada) on September 24, 2009 at 2:29 pm*

Huh? You must be talking about your own family and then projecting it onto everyone else’s.

JM on September 24, 2009 at 3:00 pm

Debbie, porn is obscene. We just pretend the equally disgusting trash in our culture has some redeeming value.

No – it doesn’t. Case closed.

NormanF on September 24, 2009 at 3:13 pm

JM. It’s beyond you. Trust me.

? Children in the United States
are more likely to be victimized
violently in their own homes than
on the streets. (Current Trends in Child Abuse
Prevention, Reporting, and Fatalities: The 1997
Fifty State Survey. Chicago, IL: Prevent
Child Abuse America, 1999)

THK (Toronto, Canada) on September 24, 2009 at 3:17 pm

at least now we know why her father did drugs. i would have to be high to sleep with her also. shes a skank crack-whore. do u think she would say to her boyfriend after sex that her dad does it better

slickwilliejihad on September 24, 2009 at 3:58 pm

These 60’s drug culture types still get all kinds of adulation in the media. I think it is important that this kind of pure awful truth gets out so that people can see that era for what it was (incredibly destructive). Many of these degenerates wield political power now. Young people (late teens and 20’s) need to know what these people were about and were they came from- it helps discredit their ideas today. I’m also a fan of policing what your kids watch. If mom or dad is watching Oprah and the too young kids see this it is all on the parents as far as I’m concerned.

Dev on September 24, 2009 at 4:33 pm

Another touchy-feely moment on the idiot box, designed to elict a tear and generate some cash. You’ve got to be a moron to watch these crappy shows in the first place. btw , her mom was a piece of work as well. I wonder where she was when all this was going on.

Not Ovenready on September 24, 2009 at 5:11 pm


In therapy, fine, share this.

On TV, it’s just TMI.

Does she really want to help other survivors to help them feel they’re not alone, and encourage them to get assistance? Or does she want to sell books?

Join a support group. Offer to speak at survivors’ groups, but don’t be a drama queen on Oprah, or any other show.

Ben-Yehudah on September 24, 2009 at 7:05 pm

Mackenzie Phillips has been a train wreck from day one. If the allegations are true, it is utter sickness. It started at 19 and continued to 29? She was an adult and made that reprehensible choice. She isn’t a victim.

Mt. HOprah is queen of trash and Pastor Manning has much to say about Mt. HOprah. Enjoy.

CaliforniaScreaming on September 24, 2009 at 8:32 pm


mindy abraham on September 24, 2009 at 8:55 pm


Melissa on September 24, 2009 at 10:07 pm

Why do people feel the need to spew everything ugly in their lifes on TV and pop rags?

Grace56 on September 24, 2009 at 10:34 pm

THESE INCESTUOUS allegations by Mackenzie Phillips don’t surprise me…

I read Papa John the book John Phillips wrote about himself, and the Mamas and Papas rock and roll experience, in the 80s.

Pure dissolute trash. Depressing.

However, in the book, John Phillips refers to his daughter, Mackenzie, having one-night stands and how one particular guy was heartbroken to discover that’s all he was. John then alluded to Mackenzie always going back to her “boyfriend” or something. From other stuff he stated throughout the 400+ page book… it suddenly occurs to me now, that he was that boyfriend.

He seemed to know too intimately, her final allegiance. He also came across as territorial.

Disgusting. Now, that the whole thing is out there.

PAGANS have no self-respect, or shame. No sense of restraint.

HEALTHY PERSONALITIES move on with their lives.

And diminishing herself, and her father like this, on a worldwide stage, with the naked truth and the horror of these dark revelations accomplishes nothing. Nothing. It will be a dark stain she will carry around forever, except now, publicly!

She should have just prayed to God in private, and begged forgiveness for herself and her father. If nominally Catholic, she should have sought spiritual direction.

That’s where she would have found that peace, that seems to forever elude her—

The Canadien on September 25, 2009 at 2:33 pm

I just don’t believe it. I find it hard to believe that none of the hangers on saw what was happening if it did occur.

JulieJ on September 25, 2009 at 5:14 pm

What really disturbs me is Oprah’s audience reaction. I only saw two women who looked horrified. The rest were jumping in praise. Like the woman who was doing the “I’m not worthy to be in your presence dance” Oprah’s brain dead audience thought it was an awesome personal conquest for Mackenzie to have this relationship with her dad. This is why America is going down the toilet. No morals! No values! Sick, sick, sick!

Rhonda on September 25, 2009 at 8:33 pm

Notice this: Mama Cass was the only decent member of The Mama’s And The Papa’s and she was the first to die.
Unfair, totally unfair.
Mama Cass was the only member who wasn’t a complete douchebag.
Denny, Michelle, and John……scum.
And Mackenzie…………the relationship with her father seemed to be a result of “Stockholm Syndrome.”
She was so drugged up back then that she probably didn’t have a clue of what she was doing. Mackenzie has some serious issues involving drugs.
A drugged up girl is an easy target for rapists. Extremely sad but true.
It still makes me uncomfortable to even think about the entire ordeal.

TurnAround on September 25, 2009 at 11:54 pm

I don’t know if shut up or who cares is really whats right here. I do think her saying this catches a lot of the libtard hippy types off balance. This guy was like their standard bearer and he’s banging his daughter. Too bad mom wasn’t more alert to the disgusting activities and put some buck shot in his ass.

Going on hoprah is a bit whorish but in todays no holds barred media, unfortunately it’s become almost normal. Sick sick sick.

Joe on September 26, 2009 at 11:48 pm

I remember growing up being allowed to watch television only on Saturday mornings because that’s when the one time a week cartoons were on. During the week I wasn’t allowed to watch anything afterschool because that’s when the soap operas came on (pre-cable), and that was considered “adult television”. Now-a-days, most american household doesn’t monitor what their kids watch and they want to blame Oprah, Jerry, etc. for raising there children. Folk, don’t blame the televsion for what your kids learn! Aren’t you sick and tired for placing the blame? If it’s not TV than it’s the streets. Education and disciplin starts at home. Throughout Phillips book, never once did she mention that her habits came from TV and look at how she turned out. There’s a lesson here folks!

maribry2004 on December 16, 2009 at 12:53 am

Poor Mack..perhaps she hides many other things.
I think that she was dogged by affairs of drug and sex.
And to cap it all, committed an incestuous sexual relationship with daddy as revealed in her book.
Fate ?
Mack… you are entire, and you are pleased of having had sex and got pregnant with your own father.

ferdinand on October 19, 2011 at 3:30 pm

Debbie, you’re brilliant.

Arn on March 2, 2013 at 6:14 pm

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