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2 TV Pretenders Back on Television

September 01, 1988|JAY SHARBUTT | Times Staff Writer

NEW YORK — Tani Freiwald and Wes Bailey, who say they went on TV talk shows pretending to be people with sex problems, will return to one of them, the "Sally Jessy Raphael Show," to talk about the deception, the program's executive producer said Wednesday.

Also scheduled to join them, said Burt Dubrow, is Dr. Dean C. Dauw, the Chicago sex therapist and author whom the shows asked for guest referrals and who says he helped provide them--acting in good faith.

The shows' contact with Dauw led to the appearances of Freiwald and Bailey.

However, "I never attempted any subterfuge," Dauw said Wednesday in a phone interview.

But he doesn't think he will give referrals to talk shows in the future, he said.

"Having gone through this, I would say I never would do it again," Dauw said. "And I would not recommend that other people do it. . . . The reason is, there are so many variables that you cannot control."

Freiwald, 37, said she is a former office manager for Dauw, but never was, as Dauw contends, also a sexual surrogate at his office. She and Bailey, 33, said they are part-time performers in Chicago and have a production company.

The trio will tape the Raphel show at its studios in New Haven, Conn., for national airing on Sept. 8, Dubrow said.

The exploits of Freiwald and Bailey first were disclosed Sunday in the Omaha World-Journal in an article by Jim Flannery, whom Bailey said was a friend who had been tipped about Bailey's TV appearances by a mutual friend.

The article and ensuing uproar has rattled the world of syndicated talk shows that often include frank sex discussions--sex talk that many critics contend is done as much to boost ratings as to spread enlightenment.

Freiwald's first appearance on a TV talk show was on the "Oprah Winfrey Show" in November, 1986, where she pretended to be a married woman who hated sex. A spokesman for the show said Tuesday that "we trusted the referral" of Dauw.

After that, Freiwald appeared twice on the Raphael show, each time as a sexual surrogate. On the second occasion, she said she had helped an impotent married man--Bailey said he acted that role--with the knowledge of the man's wife. That woman, Bailey said, actually was a Chicago actress.

Their final appearance, aired in July on Geraldo Rivera's syndicated "Geraldo," had Bailey pretending to be a man who had been a virgin until age 34, when Freiwald, as a sex surrogate, helped him end that particular status.

Freiwald said--and Dauw confirmed--that the psychologist was on the Rivera and Raphael shows as a guest when she and Bailey appeared on the shows. Dauw also said he used each occasion to promote a book he'd written.

Dauw said he thought Freiwald had brought Bailey on the Raphael show as one of her sex-surrogate clients. He was asked why he didn't recognize Bailey when the latter later appeared as a former male virgin on Rivera's show.

The psychologist said that while Bailey's voice on Rivera' show sounded vaguely familiar, he didn't recognize him: "He looked totally different. He had sunglasses on, he had a crew cut and he had his hair blonded (bleached)."

The Freiwald-Bailey disclosures about who they actually are have raised inevitable questions about how major talk shows get guests and what steps the shows take to ensure the guests are who they say they are.

Officials for the three shows at the center of the storm--which are nationally syndicated and appear weekdays in Los Angeles--say they do as much as possible to make sure their guests are on the up-and-up.

In a statement Tuesday, Debra DeMaio, executive producer of Oprah Winfrey's show, said that "we take every precaution to insure a person's credibility. In this (Freiwald) case, we trusted the referral of Chicago psychologist Dr. Dean Dauw, who specializes in sex therapy."

Dubrow said essentially the same thing.

A spokeswoman for Rivera's series, which is produced here by the star's company, the Investigative News Group, said the producer who got Freiwald and Bailey was on leave for the next three weeks and not available for comment.

But in seeking guests on certain topics, she said, the show's general practice is to seek recommendations from experts and, when prospective guests are suggested and willing to appear on the show, to double-check the guests' backgrounds.

Those who appear on "Geraldo," as did Freiwald and Bailey, first must sign releases, she said, that include this sentence: "I warrant that I will not make any remarks that I know to be false or defamatory in the program."

Now, she said, Rivera, who was not immediately available for comment, and the show are considering taking legal action of some sort against its two July visitors.

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