However, in an exclusive interview with Popdust, Michael Lohan defends the project, insisting Lindsay “loves” Oprah and views her as a parent figure—and that his daughter is staying sober and doing better than ever.
On Wednesday, Jamison Monroe, Jr., CEO of Newport Academy treatment center, claimed that, “in order for Lindsay to maintain a normal lifestyle and get herself back on track, she should be out of the limelight.
“Holding anyone in early sobriety under a microscope, with constant media attention could trigger another relapse.”
Papa Lohan shoots down Monroe’s comments though, insisting HE’S the one that’s actually guilty of exploitation—not Oprah!
“Jamison said he thought the show was exploitative to Lindsay but he’s the one being exploitative because he’s saying all this, and using Lindsay’s celebrity, purely to try and get publicity for his treatment center,” Lohan charges.
“There is absolutely nothing that is exploitative about this show. Oprah is giving Lindsay a chance to prove herself… she’s actually providing the perfect opportunity for Lindsay to do so—as she’s under all this intense scrutiny and has cameras on her all the time so she can’t mess up.
“Oprah believes in Lindsay and that’s why she is giving her the chance to show the world she’s not this mess that everyone thinks she is….she’s capable and intelligent and articulate.”
The father-of-six goes on to say he’s always believed the project would be a positive experience for Lindsay and that rather than hinder, it would actually help, with her newly won sobriety.
“I was excited for Lindsay. I thought it would help keep her together, and keep her focused,” Michael tells Popdust. “The fact that she had to function under scrutiny of a production company and the cameras would give her just enough pressure to keep her in line.”
He also addresses Oprah’s “cut the bullshit” comment which rounds off the dramatic recently released trailer for the show, insisting it’s been misconstrued and bears no relation to Lindsay falling off the wagon.
“When Oprah told her to ‘Cut the bullshit’ she was referring to Lindsay keeping her appointments and being on time, stuff like that,” Lohan explains. “People will deduce from that that Lindsay is still using, but Lindsay is used to people deducing what they want."
In fact, Michael swears that she is sober and coping just fine—even going so far as to insist she’s “always been fine.”
“Don’t believe all the bad press and stories that are out there, Lindsay has always been fine! She's going very well. I don’t agree with her staying out late and putting herself in the party scene, but that's not my call, it's hers.," Lohan says.
“If Lindsay wasn't sober, I'm sure she'd admit it,” he asserts.
Michael is no stranger himself to dealing with emotionally draining situations on camera—so, how did this experience compare?
“Well, this was as real as reality gets, but it wasn't nearly as draining as Celebrity Rehab,” he says. “That was a harrowing experience. Most reality is staged, but Celebrity Rehab and Oprah' s documentary are not staged at all. They show everything- the good, the bad and the ugly.”
At one point in the short trailer, it appears Lindsay turns on her father, accusing him of being a toxic influence and not there for her—but not so, insists Michael!
“In that scene Lindsay was referring to the 21-months I had to spend away from her while I was in jail,” he says. “She wrote a song, Confessions of a Broken Heart about that time in her life—she sings in it, ‘Dad, I miss you, I love you I wear your clothes. It's so painful to be away from you.’ I think that speaks for itself."
So, how does Lindsay feel about Oprah?
“She loves her!” Michael says. “She just said to me today, ‘Dad, I love that lady.’”
Does she look to her as a mother figure?
“A parent figure. I don't wanna take anything away from Dina because she is Lindsay's mother, but Lindsay adores Oprah too,” he says.
Finally, how are things looking for Lindsay going forward, in terms of her career?
“Awesome,” Michael says. “She is doing a movie called Inconceivable with the producers of Broken City, Two Guns, Lone Survivor. She is going to blow everyone away.”
We’ve got our fingers crossed for you Linds!
The first episode of Lindsay premieres Sunday at 10 PM (ET/PT) on OWN