Local police have begun an investigation into an apparent assault that appeared on Tuesday’s episode of “Teen Mom,” an MTV reality show featuring Anderson residents Amber Portwood and Gary Shirley.
The pre-taped episode features a scene in which Portwood appears to hit, punch and kick her ex-fiancé, Shirley, after he accuses her of being a bad mom and threatens to report her to Child Protective Services.
Portwood and Shirley were first featured in the MTV reality series, “16 and Pregnant.”
“Teen Mom,” which follows the lives of four teen mothers, has returned in its second season with episodes airing each week, Tuesdays at 10 p.m.
Lt. Paul Boulware of the Anderson Police Department said the department wasn’t aware of the fight until Wednesday, when the department’s victim’s advocate received two anonymous e-mails urging police to look into the incident.
“We assigned an officer to it this afternoon,” Boulware said.
The episode, which was pre-taped, features a fight between Portwood and Shirley that begins when Shirley questions Portwood about crib sheets on their daughter’s bed.
“Why didn’t you put a sheet on her bed when my mom brought brand new ones today?” Shirley asks Portwood.
When Portwood begins screaming at him, Shirley threatens her. “Lower your voice because Child Protective Services will get called.”
With their child, Leah, standing at their feet, the two argue back and forth until Shirley finally takes the child and leaves the apartment.
“I’m keeping her for a while,” Shirley says as he exits Portwood’s Anderson apartment.
“Oh really? How long is that,” she responds.
“Forever,” Shirley says.
The Herald Bulletin contacted Child Protective Services and inquired about any existing complaints against Portwood or Shirley.
Ann Houseworth of Child Protective Services responded to the query. “State statute does not permit me to speak about case specific information on children or families that may be involved with the child welfare system.”
When Shirley returns later in the episode, he finds Portwood stacking his belongings in the stairwell that leads to her apartment.
She tells him that he can’t stay with her anymore and an argument ensues.
As Shirley stands atop the stairs, Portwood appears to punch and slap him seven times.
“I am at the edge,” she screams, asking if he wants her to punch him in the face.
During the altercation, Shirley never responds to Portwood’s attacks physically, but continually asks “are you done?” and tells her to quit hitting him.
As Shirley descends the stairway, Portwood appears to kick him in the back.
Early in the episode, Portwood tells a friend that she has been practicing Krav Maga, an Israeli hand-to-hand combat system.
“Even though things with Gary are confusing right now, at least I know how to fight for what I believe in,” Portwood states in a voice-over during the episode.
The Herald Bulletin attempted to reach officials with MTV, but calls were not returned.
Boulware said the investigation into the possible domestic violence has been forwarded to the department’s criminal investigation unit.
He said the incident is a unique case because it was taped and aired on national television. “It’s a new way of receiving information. It’s like a 911 call through reality TV.”
It appears that the department never received a report of the incident from the MTV film crew on scene. “We have not had any information about it until e-mails were sent to the victim advocate,” Boulware said.
In some cases, Boulware said, those who witness a crime but fail to report it to police can face criminal charges. “It depends on what kind of crime it is.”
The Herald Bulletin visited Portwood’s Anderson apartment Wednesday, but Portwood and Shirley are in Tennessee filming their show with MTV, according to a family friend staying at the residence.
Watch the episode:
Contact Brandi Watters: 640-4847, email@example.com