Barely a week after TEN won praise for a Neighbours same-sex wedding, the network has been criticised by viewers for teasing sexual orientation as a reality secret.
Last night on The Bachelor Brooke Blurton, 23, told Nick Cummins, 30, she has previously had relationships with both men and women.
But the exchange was preceded by network promos across the week about a big secret in an episode with a “human lie detector” and body language expert Steve van Aperen.
“I’ve been honest with Nick …about most things. But there is something I want to share with him that I haven’t yet. It’s definitely a big part of my past,” Brooke teased last night.
“I’m worried what Nick might think of me.”
When it was explained it came with all the Reality tropes of tense music, dramatic looks, and a cliffhanger commercial break.
— The Bachelor Aus 🌹 (@TheBachelorAU) September 12, 2018
“There’s something that I really want to tell you,” Brooke told Nick. “I’ve been waiting for the right time because I feel like it is something big and it is something you should know.
“I’ve had four relationships. I was with a guy for three years … uh, this is really uncomfortable for me to tell you but I’ve also had two relationships with women.
“But I’m a big (person on) who you are inside.
“For me, when I was in those relationships I looked beyond what they were as female. I really loved them for who they were as people. You know what I mean? I’m not a bisexual or a lesbian or anything like that. I’m a big lover of people of who they are. And I just really don’t want to be judged on it.”
She went on to explain she now wanted to be with a male.
“I want to have children. For me that’s a powerful thing.
“And that’s not the only thing, I feel more sexually attracted to men,” she said.
Nick indicated he had no problem with her past.
“Who am I to judge? At least she knows now what she wants,” he said.
But many fans took to social media to express their disdain for the way it had been promoted and constructed into a reality twist. Last week a promo teased Brooke would reveal “something big,” it was accompanied by Nick’s quote, “I didn’t see this coming.”
In 2004 Seven screened Playing it Straight in which a single woman was presented with men vying for her affections, but only half of whom were heterosexual.
A person’s sexuality doesn’t need a giant build up and splashed across promos for a week. It’s bloody 2018. #TheBachelorAU
— Yolanda (@yolanda_vu_) September 12, 2018
Friendly reminder that your sexuality isn’t a “confession” and you are excellent and worthy of love from whoever you choose to accept it from xox #TheBachelorAU
— Kristen Amiet (@KrissiAmiet) September 12, 2018
Brooke eloquently expresses pansexuality, then throws that out the window and says she wants a man so she can have a family – that’s a slap in the face to all same sex parents 🤦🏼♀️ #TheBachelorAU
— Nina Ashfield-Crook (@NinaAshfield) September 12, 2018
I also wanna point out that the whole lead up to "Brooke's confession" all week made me uncomfortable knowing now what it was? I just think they're making it seem like being queer or having where queer experiences more of a big deal than it needs to be? #TheBachelorAU
— Luka (@Luka_Ritter) September 12, 2018
Is anyone else aggressively uncomfortable with the portrayal of Brooke’s bisexuality as this big evil secret that could undo their relationship? Do the producers know that’s not how bisexuality works? #TheBachelorAU
— Bella Skelton (@bellaskelton) September 12, 2018
lol when will this show treat queerness as something to be embraced and not danced around or shamed or used to bait a queer audience #TheBachelorAU
— Katie K (@_katiekendall_) September 12, 2018
I am pretty disappointed in the way @BrookeBlurton described her sexuality on the #TheBachelorAU tonight. Such a brave statement only to be ripped apart when stating that 'she's not bisexual or a lesbian or anything like that' with a nervous laugh… My heart sunk…
— PinkGelato (@Pinkgelato15) September 12, 2018
'I want to be with a man… I want to have children,' Brooke says when asked by Nick which gender she now wishes to date. As if same sex couples are incapable of becoming parents. #TheBachelorAU
— Joshua Fox (@joshua_fox) September 12, 2018
Bearable? They were so close to validating the experiences of queer people and Channel 10 chose to show it as shameful and embarrassing bombshell. #TheBachelorAU
— Georgia Gamble (@GambleGeorgia) September 12, 2018