Photo Credit: NBC
MTV reality star Amber Portwood is under investigation for domestic abuse -- after the Indiana state police, and millions of viewers, watched her attack her estranged fiance Gary Shirley on an episode of Teen Mom. According to new reports, Portwood could face felony charges -- meaning jail -- for punching Shirley in front of their 18-month-old daughter Leah. Not only that, but MTV staffers could be facing misdemeanor charges for witnessing domestic abuse and not reporting it. (Watch the Today show's report on the investigation, including clips from the show, below.)
Teen Mom, obviously, is supposed to be gritty: a real-life abstinence PSA, and a counter-argument to those who think 16 and Pregnant romanticized teen pregnancy. The girls on this show lead difficult, unenviable lives. Amber Portwood obviously doesn't have the adult coping skills necessary to deal with her situation: Instead of solving her problems, she lashes out, sometimes violently. Is there a lesson in there? Yes. Is it compelling TV? Sure. But should MTV have stopped rolling film when people started getting hurt? That's the tricky part.
Portwood's fiance is a large guy, and we'd venture to guess if he'd punched her (and not vice versa), then somebody would have called the police. The disturbing thing is that Amber is not kidding around with those punches. It looks like she may have actually wounded Shirley. Which leads to the worst revelation of all: Amber Portwood is a violent person raising a very young child. Even if she's never laid a hand on her daughter, she's exhibiting a pattern of behavior that could put her child in danger. (Her confession on Tuesday's Teen Mom reunion show that she doesn't remember the incident makes the whole thing even scarier.) And that's why Child Protective Services has stepped in.
Here's what MTV needs to teach its staffers: Children who witness violent behavior are more likely to exhibit violent behavior. They're even more likely to become abusers as adults. If children are witnessing violence at home, then they are not in a safe home, period. Anybody who witnesses a child in a dangerous situation has a moral obligation to speak up -- even if it doesn't make for great TV.
Do you think Teen Mom star Amber Portwood should go to jail? What about the MTV crew? Chime in below!