Family members of a New York firefighter who died in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks are furious that one of the stars of a reality TV show disrespected the first responder’s memory with a distasteful display at a statue dedicated in his honor.
The family of Jonathan Ielpi, an FDNY fireman from Great Neck, L.I., is annoyed that Amanda Bertoncini of Bravo's "Princesses: Long Island" staged a photo shoot in which she had the model hold up a beer bottle to the lips of the statue of Ielpi, and directed the model to kiss the statue on the lips, according to the New York Daily News.
"It was disgraceful."
- Lee Ielpi
“It was disgraceful,” Ielpi’s father, Lee, a retired FDNY firefighter who spent months searching for his 29-year-old son’s body in the wake of Sept. 11, 2001, told the paper.
At the photo shoot, Bertoncini — who is selling a bedazzled beer cozy — stripped down in front of the statue while the camera filmed. Then, according to the paper, she and a photographer were recorded urging a model to drape herself on the statue and put a bottle of beer into its mouth.
“Kiss the fireman. Try to feed him the beer,” the photographer says. “Yeah, feed him the beer!” Bertoncini adds, according to the Daily News.
The model does as she’s told, which prompts Bertoncini, 26, to laugh.
Bertoncini and Bravo have apologized for the display, and the station said it would edit the footage to cut out the statue incident in any future broadcasts.