Montel Williams Show breached standards with 'psychic' Sylvia Browne

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Saturday, June 28, 2008

This week the United Kingdom's Ofcom ruled that ITV2 "breached standards" with a repeat of The Montel Williams Show in which Pam and Craig Akers asked "psychic" Sylvia Browne where their son, Shawn Hornbeck, was. Browne told the Akers their son was dead and his body "was in a wooded area near two boulders," but he was later found alive in January 2007.

As a result, Browne and Montel Williams not only received heavy criticism for the failed prediction, but the airing of the show in the U.K. concerned "breaching rule 2.1 of the Broadcasting Code, which relates to protecting viewers against offensive material." The program distributors removed the episode from their stock and apologized for any offense to the public.

Ofcom also concluded "that a demonstration of the paranormal in this case could result in participants acting on information that could be harmful to them and the Hornbecks could have stopped searching for their child, for example."