Nine has rejected promotion of domestic violence signs in Married at First Sight, following a petition, particularly around a relationship between participants Melissa Rawson and Bryce Ruthven.
More than 12,000 people have signed the petition at change.org. It claims a failure of duty of care to Melissa during filming of the show, amid suggestions of “gaslighting” and emotional manipulation.
But John Walsh, Network Executive Producer, told advertising & marketing site B&T, “The petition in question does not reflect the nature of Bryce and Melissa’s relationship and at no time did Endemol Shine Australia or Nine consider Bryce and Melissa’s relationship to be characterised by domestic violence or the like. If that had been the case we would have intervened immediately.
“Our first priority in making MAFS is to make sure all the participants feel they are operating in a safe environment. At a briefing of participants prior to commencement of filming, the importance of alerting production if they felt unsafe or uncomfortable with their partners at any time was reinforced. We understand meeting and marrying someone at first sight and living with them for eight weeks can be a potentially daunting experience and we would not persist with a scenario where someone does not feel safe.”
Walsh went on to cite rigorous processes for all participants, access to the show psychologist during and an additional confidential psychological support to all participants for as long as they need.
The show has drawn 41 complaints to the Australian Communications and Media Authority this year, four times as many complaints as last season.