Dr. Oz at an event

Dr. Mehmet Oz did not want to talk to New York Magazine reporter Olivia Nuzzi for a profile on his run for Senate. But he ended up providing her with ample comments after trying and failing to hang up the phone when she called.

Nuzzi released a profile on Oz that kicked off with a description of the difficulties she faced in trying to interview anybody from his campaign. Because of the media reluctance of people on Oz’s team, Nuzzi decided to try contacting the television personality directly, along with his wife, Lisa Oz.

To Nuzzi’s surprise, Mrs. Oz did pick up the phone, but she hung up almost instantly. Nuzzi decided to call again to see if that was deliberate, and that led to a tense exchange between the two.

From the article:

“How did you get my number?” she asked sharply. I told her that her number was listed in public records, and this annoyed her too. “Oh,” she said, “I should have gotten rid of that.” I was about to explain that public records don’t work that way, but she cut in. “Have a nice day,” she said, but it sounded like a cross between the way women of the South say “Bless your heart” and men of Brooklyn call some asshole “pal” after being cut off in traffic. Then she hung up.

As it turns out, Mrs. Oz didn’t hang up the phone. Nuzzi said Mrs. Oz “had mistakenly connected her device to what sounded like the sound system of a vehicle, meaning that as they engaged in paranoid conversation and argument for more than four minutes, I remained on the line, hearing every word of it.”

Here’s how that apparently went:

“Who’s down at the office?” Mrs. Oz asked.

“She’s down at the office,” Dr. Oz said. “Your father called and said there’s a reporter from The New Yorker waiting for me down there who said she had an appointment … We?! We had an appointment to meet today!” He said this last thing with acid sarcasm.

“You think she made it up?” Mrs. Oz asked.

“I think she made it up completely!” Dr. Oz said. He sounded angry. “Y–y–you know what it’s — it’s — it’s called, it’s called lying also. It’s called being a liar.”

“This f*cking girl reporter,” Mrs. Oz said. “This is the girl reporter who broke into some guy’s house and stole all his photo albums.” She was referring to an accusation made up by disgraced ex-Trump aide Corey Lewandowski in retaliation after I had reported details of his Single White Male obsession with a White House official.

Nuzzi went on to say she also heard the Ozes complaining about Michelle Bouchard, a family friend who spoke to Nuzzi beforehand. It was this part of the call that confirmed Nuzzi’s suspicions that Mrs. Oz was telling her acquaintances “don’t f*cking talk to [Nuzzi]” because of the “hit piece” she was supposedly assembling.

Nuzzi said that when she spoke to Bouchard, she said that Oz’s Senate candidacy “was part of the new guard” of Republicans emerging to replace the “old guard” of the GOP. Nuzzi said Bouchard’s gushing comments didn’t seem hugely significant until she heard Mr. Oz going off about it to his wife.

Dr. Oz interrupted Mrs. Oz. “Michelle said stuff she shouldn’t have said.”

Mrs. Oz became defensive. “Uh, no, not a lot — ” she said.

Dr. Oz became sharp. “She said things she shouldn’t have fucking said,” he said, his voice rising. “She shouldn’t have fucking said — ”

Mrs. Oz interrupted Dr. Oz. “She didn’t say — ”

Dr. Oz interrupted Mrs. Oz. “She said shit she shouldn’t have said! That I was going to be the next leader of the Republican Party — ”

“No, she didn’t say that,” Mrs. Oz said.

“You were the one who told me that!” Dr. Oz said. “You told me that’s what she said!”

“No — I — ” Mrs. Oz said.

“That Michelle told her I’m going to be the next leader of the Republican Party, shit like that, that’s what you told me she said!” Dr. Oz said.

“I did not say anything about that,” Mrs. Oz said to Dr. Oz.

“She shouldn’t have fucking said that,” Dr. Oz said. “We’ve got to go lock our door because — ”

“We should maybe call and keep an eye out,” Mrs. Oz said. “Here, I’ll drive.”

Nuzzi said the call ended shortly after that, but then her phone rang.

“It was Lisa Oz,” she said. “I picked it up and said hello. She paused, then she hung up on me. This time she was successful.”

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