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Oprah accused of exploiting Lindsay Lohan in post-rehab reality series

For the past several years, Lindsay Lohan has been in and out of rehab, with her most recent stint court-ordered visit to Cliffside Malibu in 2013. The troubled actress followed that stay by filming a reality show for Winfrey’s OWN network titled “Lindsay.” 

In a clip for the show released on Tuesday, Winfrey is shown telling Lindsay she is there to help. But many critics are calling Winfrey's show, which premieres on Sunday, plain exploitation, and potentially dangerous for the troubled former child star.

Janina Kean, President and CEO of High Watch Recovery Center in Connecticut, told FOX411 that “everyone is exploiting Lohan and she is not well enough to realize this.” 

Human behavior expert Patrick Wanis, PhD, concurred, saying “if Oprah really wanted to help, she wouldn’t need to employ cameras."

Jamison Monroe, Jr., CEO of Newport Academy, told FOX411 that “in order for Lindsay to maintain a ‘normal’ lifestyle and get herself back on track, she should be out of the limelight. Holding anyone in early sobriety under a microscope, with constant media attention could trigger another relapse.” 

Monroe Jr. added: “I do think Oprah’s (motives) come from a place of love and compassion, but she is not a clinician.”

Tim Molloy of entertainment site TheWrap.com suggested that “Lindsay” seems to go further in an exploitative sense than even the often criticized “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.”

“(Lohan is leaving herself) open to another barrage of late night jokes if she fails. It’s a public shaming approach to recovery,” he writes.

Daniel D’Addario of Salon.com noted that Winfrey “is just the latest media figure to capitalize on the travails of the Lohan family” and that the marketing materials for the show “provide a strong sense not merely of the content but on how willing Winfrey is to rely on expectations of Lohan’s behavior to make a buck.”

The promo video released by OWN reveals such dramas as Lohan halting production because she locks herself out of her apartment. When her sober coach is asked if she is sober, he gives a hesitant breath before an edit cuts away. Finally Winfrey is briefed on Lohan’s lack of cooperation en route to their meeting, then has a sit down with Lohan. 

“You need to cut the bulls**t,” she cautions. “You really do.”

According to some, Winfrey's approach might be just what Lohan requires to set her on the straight and narrow.

“Well, Lindsay hasn’t relapsed at all since she went to Cliffside and filmed the show, now has she?” a source connected to the actress said. “This isn’t ‘Celebrity Rehab’ where they follow sobbing patients into the bathroom. Lindsay isn’t in recovery. She’s a young girl navigating her way through and trying to transition into a new life.”

Winfrey offers Lohan strong words of support in the short video.

“My truth is that I really do want you to win,” she tells her. “If that isn’t what you want, I’m okay with that. I will tell these guys (the crew) to pack up and leave today.”

Given that Oprah’s network is promoting "Lindsay" as a full series, its safe to assume Lohan stayed the course. 

Reps for OWN and Lohan did not respond to a request for comment.

“Lindsay” premieres on the OWN network Sunday, March 9.

 

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