The episode of Jersey Shore that includes Snooki getting punched by a man in a bar will air next week, followed by a PSA cautioning, "Violence against women in any form is a crime," reports the Daily News.
MTV appears to be doing some damage control around the clip, which was shown in a trailer after the show's debut last week and has already circulated on the Internet in the form of animated gif files and frame-by-frame breakdowns. The Daily News quotes "a source at the network" saying the public service announcement, which includes a number for the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline, was planned "long before" Italian American organizations protested the show—or, presumably, before anyone had a chance to react to this particular scene.
The network also put Snooki (whose real name is Nicole Polizzi) on the phone:
Polizzi, who suffered bruises and swelling as a result of the punch, said the clip is hard for her to watch, but that she's glad MTV is including it in the series.
"It should be out there. Everyone should know that it can happen," Polizzi told The News. "But also, a positive came out of it. It brought [the cast] closer together."
Polizzi says the man who hit her was drunk and had been bothering her and her friends at the bar. When she spoke up to ask him to leave, he hit her.
The case is clearly not a classic example of "domestic violence," given that the perpetrator was a man in a bar Polizzi had never met. The PSA addresses the issue by modifying the usual text: "If you or someone you know is being abused by a boyfriend, family member or total stranger..." But it was the reaction of certain, vocal viewers of the clip to the sight of a woman being hit that evoked a larger social context of violence against women. The Daily News refers to viewers being "aghast"; unfortunately, not counting our post yesterday, it was disturbingly easy to find examples of viewers who found it hilarious.