Why Mocking Celebrity Dermatologist Dr. Fredric Brandt Isn’t Excusable in Life or Death

Elisabeth Kramer on 7 Apr 2015 at 9:40pm

Fredric BrandtWhen word broke on April 5 that Dr. Fredric Brandt had passed away, we here at RealSelf were shocked by the news. Dr. Brandt, whom W magazine once dubbed the Baron of Botox, was a cosmetic dermatologist who catered to the stars and brought many elective procedures to the forefront of modern beauty. To hear he’d died, and by his own hand, left us shaken and sad.

As if his passing wasn’t enough to grieve, we’re left stunned by the negativity that has swirled around his death. His publicist has said that Dr. Brandt, who struggled with depression, was “devastated” following what many believe is a harsh parody of him as a Frankenstein-esque, Botox-crazed doctor on Tina Fey’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

We can never know for sure whether there is a correlation between Dr. Brandt’s suicide and that portrayal but sadly, the publicist’s comments have led pundits like Piers Morgan to use the occasion of a man’s death to spew their own hate about plastic surgery. Instead of focusing on the lives Dr. Brandt made better, Morgan instead harps on “the Devil’s Curse.” That is, to say, plastic surgery.

In his April 7 piece for the The Daily Mail, Morgan uses the suicide of a man he admits he never actually met to espouse his own views on plastic surgery and how “it draws people in on an enticing promise of a better life, then commits them to a living Hell.” His evidence for this claim? The stars he’s met and interviewed, very few of whom, he says, “are even remotely happy with the way they look.”

These stars go unnamed, thus depriving them of the opportunity to defend themselves, but judging from what we know from the millions of reviews at RealSelf, chances are good that what Morgan perceived as “a living Hell” is in fact far from the truth. Spend five minutes reading the stories on RealSelf and you’ll see that what Morgan claims — that “plastic surgery crushes self-acceptance, and therefore self-dignity, by perpetuating a myth of everlasting youth” — is a lie that only harms innocent men and women, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters who want to be educated about their medical choices.

Morgan doesn’t stop there. He uses the death of Dr. Brandt to call all cosmetic surgeons “little more than enabler(s).” This is a disservice to Dr. Brandt’s work and to the work of all in the cosmetic industry. Would such venom be allowed if any topic but plastic surgery was being discussed? If Dr. Brandt had, instead, chosen to be a lawyer or only worked with those with “hideous facial disfigurements” — a group Morgan gives his blessing to seek out medical cosmetic options — would such outrageous claims be allowed? Doubtful.

Sadly, we at RealSelf can’t help but feel that it’s because of the nature of Dr. Brandt’s work that he was seen as an easy target for mockery in life and, sadly, also in death. As we mourn the loss of this man, let us remember that bullying is bullying, no matter where it comes from or what it’s about.