The Block “all a lie” claim ‘bullied’ contestants

Tess & Luke give an explosive interview accusing Nine show of impacting mental health.

The Block couple Tess and Luke have given an explosive interview to news.com.au accusing producers of “bullying” and saying they wish they never appeared on the show.

The interview is surprising in its candour given the couple are still on the show. It also comes before the yet to be filmed auction finale. Awkwardly, they also come on the day of Nine’s Upfront presentation in Melbourne. It isn’t clear if their comments constitute a breach of contract.

The couple were once more close to breaking point during Tuesday’s episode, with Tess walking off site after host Scott Cam tried to confront her about their budget issues.

“We didn’t watch last night. We’re getting sick of how they’re editing us as being these big lazy pr***s who don’t get off their arse and do a single thing. For some reason they’re just not showing us doing any of the work. We’re just getting painted as these lazy people and we’re bloody sick of it,” Luke said.

“We’re really disappointed. Even the other contestants have contacted us to say, ‘That didn’t happen, that was taken out of context’.”

“We’re pretty upset with how we’ve been painted — it’s all a lie,” said Tess, who also slammed the show for continuing to film her after she’d walked off-site in last night’s episode.

Tess said she had been out shopping when she was called back to site for Cam’s walkaround.

“I looked at a producer and said, ‘I’m not coping today. My mental health isn’t right. I can’t go in there and be slammed by Scotty over something that isn’t true’. So Luke took the beating and I hid because I wasn’t OK. Luke took it like a champ. And it was all a lie — we didn’t spend $25,000 more than the other contestants. We’ve been working our absolute arses off,” she said.

“So I walked off, because I couldn’t handle it. I did say, ‘You guys need to stop filming me because I’m not coping right now for mental health reasons’ — and they didn’t stop filming.”

Luke revealed that the couple had called a meeting with  executive producer Julian Cress just yesterday to complain about how they were being portrayed — specifically, the lack of footage of them working hard on their renovations.

“He said, ‘It’s on film, it’ll be there’. We said, ‘Well, it’s not there. You’re not showing Australia that we’re actually having a crack’,” Luke said.

“We’re really upset — we’re not coping with it any more. We’re really heartbroken,” Tess said.

“We thought this was going to be an amazing, positive experience in our life, but we wish we never went on this bloody thing. We got bullied the whole way through (filming) the show, and now we feel like they’re bullying us on the show as well,” Luke said.

“We just want this over and done with. It’s really sad that we feel like we have to explain ourselves to people who have no idea who we really are. They’re judging us based on a show that is completely full of shit,” Tess said.

“During the show, producers would talk to Luke, then talk to me, trying to pit us against each other. It was pretty horrible,” she said.

Tess also claimed acts of kindness — like foreman Keith pitching in to work on their house during last night’s episode — were all for show.

A Nine spokseperson said: “Tess and Luke have done an outstanding job creating a magnificent four-bedroom home. After a shaky start and budget struggles, they’ve won two room reveals so far and their renovating style has impressed the judges and viewers alike.”

“We recognise the mammoth challenges facing all contestants. We supported all of them throughout the build and we had a psychologist and support team available at all times. We’ll continue to support them as the program is broadcast and beyond.”

Executive Producer, Julian Cress said that Tess and Luke “have been warmly embraced by the audience and rank as one of the most popular couples we have had on The Block. Through their sheer hard work and determination to finish they also won the admiration and respect of the entire production crew and they have our full support and will continue to.”


22 Responses

  1. Editing is a real thing. A bit of history – Sergei Eisenstein is credited with developing the art of editing in the 1925 Russian movie ‘Battleship Potemkin’. Since then, the art of editing has been used by many great movie editors and directors to heighten emotions in the viewer such as drama/horror/fear. An artisan in editing along with his editors was Alfred Hitchcock.
    But editing can be used to achieve a preferred outcome. As an example, a politician may say something like, “so-and-so said yesterday that all ???????s are awful”. The politician was only quoting another source – but editing out the intro to the statement results in the politician being reported in media as stating that “all ??????s are awful”.
    I cannot believe that TV does not use editing to heighten the ‘drama’ of the competition in the likes of The Block etc.
    Editing is not a benign process.

  2. I can see where they’re coming from, and personally I wouldn’t go on a reality show, the stress would be unbelievable. However I am surprised they’ve spoken out before the series has even wrapped up. There could be contractual issues here, so will be interesting to see how it plays out. The atmosphere at the Auction Finale will be quite frosty I imagine.

    1. The auction chit chat with Scotty will be incredibly awkward. Maybe Tess and Luke will boycott as they are not even watching the show anymore. Either way the finale will be a big ratings winner I imagine!

  3. Another Wednesday another reality contestant complaining about editing. Of course it’s not nice to be taken out of context but it’s amazing how many people get into these shows and then get upset about how they’re portrayed. Especially when they can only use what you say and do.

    The show hasn’t even wrapped yet so I too wonder if there will be some frostiness when they come back for the open for inspections and auction…

  4. David I’m not sure if you saw the news yesterday (I couldn’t see it on the website) that Channel 7 was ordered to pay compensation to 2017 House Rules contestant Nicole Prince under Worker’s Compensation laws. She sued alleging bullying and harassment and also pointing to their portrayal on air and being bullied online. Against 7s arguments, and their contract, the Tribunal found that “determining that she was an employee due to the rate of remuneration, her being an “integral part of the show” and a variety of other reasons.”

  5. She couldn’t get any more references to poor mental health in there, could she. Given another person on another reality show just won a Workers Compensation case against the production company for similar claims, I would expect a workers compensation claim will be lodged ASAP; and meanwhile the narrative about this couple on this show will, I suspect, change quiet dramatically to be oh so positive ASAP.

  6. As much as the individuals have a responsibilty to their own mental health, it would appear that a duty of care is not being taken generally by producers when it comes to Reality TV of late.
    You can only push so far for ratings before it becomes bullying and harassment regardless of what you signed up for.
    While I have no proof of the circumstances the contestants are confronted with, it is so disappointing to see ratings appear to come before peoples mental health for entertainment.

  7. It’s hard to believe that a reality tv show isn’t that real and that participants are being edited just to portray a dramatic storyline….who would have thought…..

  8. And is totally unrelated to yesterday’s news “Seven ordered to pay compensation to House Rules contestant for ‘psychological’ injury” ? Naaa, just coincidence.

  9. I haven’t watched this week yet, but until now I would have said the show has showed them working. Viewers are aware that they hit budget problems earlier than most so had to do a lot of the work themselves in recent weeks. I feel sorry that the show hasn’t been a good experience for them they seem like a nice couple. When you sign up for these shows you sign up to be filmed during the good and the bad and I do think sometimes the pressure is too much, many enjoyed watching the show when it was mostly about renovating, and less about created drama.

  10. ‘ It isn’t clear if their comments constitute a breach of contract.’
    After the 7 House Rules judgement….not sure the contract is worth the paper it is written on… from what I read …I read the Guardian story..
    Yep…just read news.com story….end states it is a day after the 7 story….

  11. Oh dear god, not another “reality” contestant bemoaning editing. This genre is not new.

    Also short sightedness on their part in thinking they were signing up for a “reality” show when in fact they signed up for a part scripted drama.

    Of course the producers want conflict check out the adverts for the show each week… all they focus on is drama and bickering…..very very rarely on the actual rennos.

  12. Seven has just been ordered to pay worker’s compensation to a former House Rules contestant. As it was described as a (similar) ‘psychological/psychiatric’ injury, precedent could be used in this case methinks.

  13. Is it victim blaming to ask why these people don’t have their eyes open when they go into these programs?

    More importantly, now that the Workers Compensation Commission has ruled that Nicole Prince, who appeared on season five of House Rules in 2017, was legally an employee of the network and entitled to compensation – watch the litigation fly.

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