CBS issued an on-air apology to U.S. veterans during the opening minutes of its "Amazing Race" reality show on Sunday night as a result of complaints the network received for the previous week's segment that featured competitors in Vietnam watching repeated performances of a communist victory song and racing to a war memorial made from a downed American B-52.
"Parts of last Sunday's episode, filmed in Vietnam, were insensitive to a group that is very important to us: our nation's veterans," the network said. "We want to apologize to veterans – particularly those who served in Vietnam – as well as 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 network made the apology after receiving a scathing letter from the Veterans of Foreign Wars last week. The apology was also a change of heart for the network whose chief spokesman told Military.com on March 22 it would not comment on the VFW's complaint.
John Hamilton, national commander of the VFW, on Monday thanked CBS President Les Moonves for the apology.
"As the nation's largest and oldest major war veterans' organization, our toughest challenge is keeping the American public and her government focused on veterans after every war and conflict ends," Hamilton told Moonves. "Our nation has many national priorities, but to the VFW, making sure our men and women who serve in uniform return home to a grateful and respectful nation is paramount. Your network and all of its programs can be of tremendous assistance in that mission."
In a letter last week Hamilton told Moonves that the "B-52 scene, as well as the young people singing a propaganda song, was totally unnecessary to the show's plot." That the network included that in the show, he said, "speaks volumes about naïve producers who think they're in charge when they are not."
"The Amazing Race" is a reality TV series in which two-person teams follow clues as they race to locations around the world.