December 15, 2004 3:50 PM CST: Not so amazing
Fans of CBS' "The Amazing Race" were buzzing Wednesday about the latest incident involving the show's least-liked couple, Jonathan and Victoria.
The married couple is constantly bickering, screaming and, a couple weeks ago, Jonathan physically shoved Victoria. On Tuesday's episode, under even worse conditions -- Victoria was sobbing uncontrollably as they approached the finish-line mat, due to yet another spat -- Jonathan pushed Victoria again, hard enough to cause her to stumble.
Even host Phil Keoghan was taken aback by Jonathan's behavior. "I think you probably should go and talk to Victoria," Keoghan said, as Victoria walked off camera, sobbing.
Jonathan promptly went up to his wife and started screaming at her again: "This is a race! This isn't about compassion!"
According to one domestic violence expert, Jonathan's behavior amounts to abuse.
Vickii Coffey, executive director of the Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women's Network did not see the episode in question, but she said that any time physical shoving occurs, especially in conjunction with a verbal altercation, there is a serious cause for concern.
"There's a pattern that is happening, and that's being documented by the producers of this show and it's necessary for [producers] to be aware that over time, these kinds of incidents tend to escalate and become more frequent and get more intense," Coffey says. "There's a good probability that there could be more violence than what we're seeing."
Coffey says she is disappointed that the violence was shown and that there did not appear to be any consequences for or discussions with Jonathan or Victoria. The episode ended soon after the shoving incident, and both were allowed to continue with the race.
Coffey was not just concerned for Victoria, she was also concerned about what viewers might take away from the depiction of Victoria's relationship with the explosive Jonathan.
"By televising this, what we do is say? This is OK?," Coffey says. "Because nobody is doing anything about it. Nobody is addressing it on the show. Abuse is a learned behavior. We learn to be violent because we're taught in different ways in our culture to normalize certain things."