Jana Pittman heartbroken by Amazing Race viewer backlash

Former Olympic athlete Jana Pittman and her teenage son Cornelis were the latest team to be eliminated from The Amazing Race: Celebrity Edition during Wednesday’s episode – and Pittman spoke out over the show to reveal she was “heartbroken” by the criticism she’d received from viewers about her time on the show.

Pittman and her 17-year-old son came a respectable fifth place in the show, which this season has seen Australian celebrities pair up with a loved one for a race around countries including India, Cambodia and Malaysia.

But after their elimination, hurdling champ and mum of six Pittman shared a lengthy post on Instagram, revealing that viewer comments about her relationship with her son during the season had stung.

“Definitely heartbroken to read some super critical messages from people about our relationship and my mothering skills. That I babied him calling him buddy, that I was annoying and too critical,” she began.

Pittman’s not exaggerating – here’s a sample of the Twitter reaction when the pair were on screen:

Recent posts to the show’s Facebook page are also littered with comments from viewers complaining about Pittman’s relationship with her son.

Pittman said she “heard” the critiques: “I watched the edit and cringed too… the portrayal of my mother-son relationship laid bare for all to comment on,” she wrote.

Pittman explained that after a successful first six legs of the race, “the pressure built up and it got very hard,” which played out on TV.

“Of course they mainly show the parts were we argue and I seem to push him too hard. It‘s reality TV!! It has definitely made me look at myself and realise I have to be less ‘intense’.. do better.. enjoy life a little more. Listen closer.. It’s a hard switch to turn off when you have been that way all your life.. but there were so many other fabulous moments where we pushed and supported each other well beyond our limits,” she wrote.

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In the lengthy post, shared after midnight in the hours after the episode aired, Pittman also called for compassion as she dealt with the criticism.

“Behind every celebrity is a person and most of us bleed and cry the same as everyone. Reading some tough comments makes my heart hurt. My stomach aches with disappointment and my brain won‘t switch off,” she wrote.

“Yes I signed up to do it, so it’s on me to wear this and I will but right now it hurts. Tomorrow I still have to get up, plaster a smile on, show up for patients, snuggle the kids and do a speaking gig but I will do it tired, as tonight I am teary, heart broken and feeling incredibly vulnerable,” she revealed.

“So it’s just a little shout out to remind us all, our words are powerful. Comments will likely reach the person they are about and if that’s your intention great, but please remember theirs a person who breathes, cries and aches behind the ’name’ and a director that has to get TV’s turned on,” she said.

The Amazing Race host Beau Ryan was among the first to offer their support for Pittman under her post, writing: “Walk tall Jana. You’re a great mum and you both were fantastic on the race. Both you and Cor should be proud.”

Jana and Cor’s elimination leaves four teams in this season of the show: Darren McMullen and his nephew Tristan, Emma Watkins and her sister Hayley, Alli Simpson and her mum Angie and Harry Jowsey with his friend Teddy.

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Ten recently revealed at their 2024 Upfronts that this Celebrity edition of The Amazing Race will return to screens next year.