Bhad Bhabie is speaking out about the abuse she experienced at Turn-About Ranch—a “troubled teen” program Dr. Phil sent her to after her appearance on his show.
In addition to speaking out about her experience, she’s demanding a public apology from Dr. Phil — or the 17-year-old says she’s going to handle things “her way.”
Bhabie opened up about her experience in an Instagram post several weeks ago, shortly after 19-year-old Hannah Archuleta accused a ranch staffer of sexual assault. Bhabie shared more details about the alleged abuse in a video with Breaking Code Silence, a social movement that raises awareness about the horrors of the “troubled teen” industry.
“When I had seen the punishments [Archuleta] was given, I knew I really had to say something … ’cause I truly believe they did that,” Bhabie said in the video. “So, Dr. Phil, I’m going to give you from now to April 5 to issue an apology, not only to me, but to Hannah, and any other child you sent to Turn-About or any other program like this. If you don’t, I’m gonna handle things my way.”
Bhabie claimed she was sent to Turn-About Ranch not too long after her viral Dr. Phil sit-down. She explained that troubled kids who appear on the show are sent to these types of residential programs in an effort to modify their behavior. She described the ranch as an isolated facility in the middle of nowhere, which makes it difficult for kids to escape.
“There’s nowhere to run. If you try to run out there, they’re gonna find you and you’re gonna get in more trouble; or, if you do get away, you’re gonna get eaten by a coyote,” she said. “I was taken there against my will … [they] come in the middle of the night, they don’t tell [the kids] where they’re going; they just take them, handcuff them, and put them in the car. It’s basically like kidnapping.”
Bhabie said that during her time at the Utah facility she was deprived of sleep, adequate meals, and warmth. Bhabie also recalled several instances in which teens were physically restrained and subjected to severe punishments by staffers. She said it got so bad that she pleaded with her mother to take her out of the program, offering to go to therapy or enroll in an out-patient program instead.
“It’s just our word against the staff’s word when you’re there, because there’s no witnesses, there’s no cameras, you don’t have a phone; there’s none of that,” she explained. “That’s why I was so scared to speak out, because I was like, ‘No one’s going to be believe me.’”
Bhabie also addressed the 2016 death of James “Jimmy” Woolsey, a Turn-About Ranch employee who was murdered by a teen who was enrolled in the program.
“What parents need to understand is if your child is acting out ’cause of trauma, like sexual abuse or maybe the kid’s parents got divorce or anything like that, you don’t send your kid to a program like this …” she continued. “It’s just really fucked up. You’re just using children to keep your ranch going and you’re not even feeding them or letting them sleep in decent conditions …
“I’m not really sure why Dr. Phil still sends kids here. It really doesn’t make sense. Are you trying to help them or are you trying hurt them even more? … Don’t be sending kids somewhere just to make it look like you’re doing something.”
Who knew Bhad Bhabie would become somewhat of an advocate for abused troubled teens? Maybe she found her purpose.