Bravo’s ‘The Princesses: Long Island’ dishonors 9/11 hero’s statue

By Don Kaplan and Rich Schapiro New York Daily News

This princess is a royal boor.

Amanda Bertoncini — a cast member on Bravo’s reality TV show “Princesses: Long Island” — has triggered an uproar after disrespecting a statue honoring a fallen 9/11 firefighter from Great Neck.

Ielpi’s father, Lee, a former firefighter who spent months searching for his 29-year-old son’s body in the wake of September 11, says, “It was a slap to the people of Great Neck. It was a slap to the fire department of Great Neck and it was a slap to all of the people that were lost on 9/11.”

Model posing for Bertoncini’s photoshoot

Bravo on Sunday aired footage of Bertoncini, 26, staging a boozy photo shoot in front of a monument paying tribute to FDNY firefighter Jonathan Ielpi and other slain heroes.

“It was disgraceful,” said Ielpi’s father, Lee, a retired FDNY firefighter who spent months searching for his 29-year-old son’s body in the wake of September 11, 2001.

“It was a slap to the people of Great Neck,” he said. “It was a slap to the fire department of Great Neck and it was a slap to all of the people that were lost on 9/11.”

At the photo shoot, the loudmouthed Bertoncini — who is hawking a bedazzled beer-can holder — stripped down in front of the statue as cameras rolled. Then, she and a photographer were recorded urging a model to drape herself on the statue and thrust a beer can into its mouth.

“Kiss the fireman. Try to feed him the beer,” the photographer says. “Yeah, feed him the beer!” Bertoncini adds.

The model does as she’s told, prompting Bertoncini to giggle with delight.

Ielpi’s sister, Melissa Brengel, found out about the brutish display when a horrified friend who was watching the episode reached out to her Sunday night. Brengel watched a rerun later that night.

“She went in there and had no problem stripping in front of it and telling her friend to pour beer on the firefighter,” Brengel said. “There was no respect. There was no dignity.”

Furious, Brengel lashed out at Bertoncini on her Facebook fan page. “I am the sister of the firefighter you so disgustingly disrespected in your episode last night,” the message read, in part. “You grew up in Great Neck and you are going to tell us that you didn’t know what my brother’s statue stands for?”

Bertoncini, one of six pampered Long Island women featured on the show, later apologized — but not without plugging her company.

“I would especially like to extend my sincerest apologies to the family of Jonathan Ielpi,” Bertoncini said in a statement, saying she was unaware of the statue’s “sentimental value.”

“I never meant to hurt or offend anyone when I was doing my photo shoot for the Drink Hanky.”

A red-faced Bravo rep apologized and said the footage will not be shown in any future airings. “We are extremely sorry for any distress we caused the family of Jonathan Ielpi and other firefighters,” the rep said.

Lee Ielpi said he doesn’t believe Bertoncini should be punished. He’s outraged at Bravo for airing her antics.

“This was not a live piece. This was taped,” said Lee Ielpi, who is the president of the September 11th Families’ Association. “The producers of the show knew what they were doing when they aired it, and they’re the ones that should be held accountable.”

This entry was posted in 9/11 Community, 9/11 Memorials. Bookmark the permalink.
  • One World Observatory

    Learn more about the One World Observatory complimentary ticket program.

  • Categories

  • From the Newsletter

  • Upcoming Events

    1. Art Exhibit “Bravery and Sacrifice: NYPD Heroes 9/11 and Beyond”

      September 8 @ 8:00 am - December 31 @ 5:00 pm
    2. Cooks wanted for FDNY Fire Museum Fundraising Cook-Off

      September 27 @ 8:00 am - October 25 @ 5:00 pm
    3. Win 2 tickets to “Come from Away”

      October 19 @ 8:00 am - October 21 @ 5:00 pm
    4. Wake for Retired NYPD Lieutenant James D. Russell

      October 19 @ 2:00 pm - 9:30 pm
    5. Brooke Jackman Foundation Benefit

      October 19 @ 6:30 pm - 10:00 pm