An alarming story emerged yesterday of privacy and duty of care concerns around the upcoming season of My Kitchen Rules: The Rivals.
Buzzfeed reported two contestants were filmed being sexually intimate without their knowledge, with footage allegedly shared among Seven staff.
The 2020 season puts participants into “House of Manu” or “House of Colin” living quarters.
The footage, taken in mid-2019, shows a male contestant consensually digitally penetrating a female contestant on a couch in one of the houses.
“I had no idea [the cameraman] was there until we spotted him,” one participant told BuzzFeed News. “We caught him and then he swore he deleted the footage and obviously didn’t.
“It destroyed me for months afterwards,” the contestant said. “Since when has something like this been any sort of priority or even on the topic [for a cooking show]?”
The other participant declined to be interviewed.
According to their contract, everywhere in the house but the bedroom was a “potential” location for filming, including with stationary cameras. This activity took place on a couch at around 5am.
Seven did not deny the incident took place.
A Seven spokesperson told BuzzFeed News: “My Kitchen Rules: The Rivals is a family friendly cooking show broadcast in prime time. All filming was done in accordance with contestant contracts.”
It did not clarify how many staff had access to the footage but a source told Buzzfeed it was circulating at Seven’s post-production studios in Eveleigh some months ago.
“A cameraman had sneakily snuck down stairs, hidden behind the railing and filmed them from above,” they added. “You can see the two bodies lying on the couch… in between two staircase poles.”
The story follows Seven in hot water over a former House Rules contestant winning a NSW Workers Compensation Commission case for medical expenses due to psychological injury.
Seven is appealing the ruling, likely to be determined in early 2020.