An "Amazing Race" apology was issued to viewers and veterans who were offended at their Sunday, March 17 episode. The CBS show featured a B-52 memorial in Hanoi, Vietnam, but instead of reflecting or honoring the soldiers that died, the plane was treated as a prop to find a clue.
"Amazing Race" host Phil Keoghan apologized after a week of heavy criticism by the Veterans of Foreign Wars organization as well as public condemnation by Fox News host Bob Beckel.
"Parts of last Sunday's episode, filmed in Vietnam, were insensitive to a group that is very important to us -- our nation's veterans," Keoghan read on-air. "We want to apologize to veterans, particularly those who served in Vietnam, as well as to their families and any viewers who were offended by the broadcast. All of us here have the most profound respect for the men and women who fight for our country."
The controversy began when contestants for "The Amazing Race" had to visit the downed B-52 bomber. Although four Americans went down in the plane— two died— it was never mentioned. Instead, an "Amazing Race" "Double-U-Turn" sign was hung on it, letting the players know their scavenger hunt had entered the next phase.
Adding insult to injury, children performed a song filled with Communist propaganda while standing in front of former North Vietnam leader Ho Chi Minh. The lyrics "Vietnam Communist Party is glorious / The light is guiding us to victory" especially offended the VFW, who was quick to respond.
"The scene with the B-52 wreckage could have been used to tell a story about what was then America's longest war, about the 58,195 American names on the Vietnam Wall, about the 1,652 Americans still listed as missing-in-action, or about the fates of the multiple crewmen aboard each of the 17 American B-52s we lost in combat," John Hamilton, commander of the veterans' organization, wrote.
"The B-52 scene, as well as the young people singing a propaganda song, was totally unnecessary to the show's plot, which speaks volumes about naïve producers who think they're in charge when they are not," he added.
However, after CBS and the show's producers issued their statement, the VFW issued another statement accepting the apology.
"On behalf of the 2 million-member Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States and our Auxiliaries, thank you for the apology to America's Vietnam Veterans and their families that aired at the beginning of last night's episode of 'The Amazing Race,'" Hamilton wrote.