SXSW's newest 'wellness' advisor under fire for controversial views

SXSW's newest 'wellness' advisor under fire for controversial views

logo for SXSW 2014 South by Southwest
Photo courtesy of SXSW

Less than a year after coming under fire for including tone-deaf immigration language in its official artist's letter, SXSW is stirring up controversy once again. Last week, festival organizers announced they have invited Kelly Brogan, MD, to join their first annual 2018 Wellness Expo Advisory Board.

Brogan is a New York City-based holistic women’s health psychiatrist and author who, among other things, once denied that HIV leads to AIDS and has publicly advocated for women suffering from mental health issues to ditch their antidepressants in favor of a strict diet.

Over the past week, the doctor has found herself in the national spotlight after news broke that the Gwyneth Paltrow-owned wellness site Goop invited Brogan to be a panelist at their annual health expo. Her controversial views have been the subject of stories in both Newsweek and Jezebel, as well as medical publications decrying the doctor's anti-establishment practices as potentially harmful.

This year will be the first for the SXSW Wellness Expo, which promises to "bring the most innovative companies, ideas, and trends to the exhibition." Brogan joins 12 other advisory board members tasked with shaping the programming for the inaugural event. 

As for Brogan, she's taking the controversy in stride. The doctor is taking to Instagram to combat her critics. In response to Jezebel's December 1 article, Brogan wrote, "Gotta love smear pieces that give me so much link juice, I couldn’t have commissioned such validating exposure! For a great intro to my work, check out what my critics have to say."