Nine rejects duty of care failings on MAFS

"We would have intervened immediately," say producers on the question of signs of domestic violence in MAFS.

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.

Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia.
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9 Responses

  1. I’ve actually quite enjoyed the personalities on the show this year. I would be more concerned with the way the producers allowed Bryce to be bullied by the other contestants, including name calling related to his physical appearance (large nose). The show matches people carefully… not to make a perfect match, but to produce the maximum amount of fireworks. It’s clear Melissa has a significant fear of rejection and, as a consequence, will ‘stand by her man’ no matter what. I wonder how much that played into the show’s calculations when pairing her with Bryce, the arrogant radio jock?

    1. I agree Tony, the constant attacks by others on Bryce seem to have been overlooked. First it was Rebecca who would try and get Bruce fired up and lately it’s been Patrick. Last night they brought back Sam to stir up Bryce with Patrick leading the charge once again.

      And you’re quite right, the contestants are matched based on the potential fireworks they can generate, which is really what this ‘experiment’ is all about.

  2. I loved MAFS but officially gave up after a few episodes this year. What a shocking lot of cast members. Guess i was right to switch off. These 2 were unbareable and i only saw a tiny bit of them. MAFS has peaked for me 2 years ago… all downhill from here.

  3. Melissa is a grown woman. She can leave Bryce if she wants to. If people don’t like Bryce’s behavior, don’t watch the show! If enough people don’t watch the show, it’ll get canned and therefore, a win-win situation!

    1. The whole concept of the show though is tha5 if the partner says stay, you have to stay. I don’t know about the complexities around breaking contracts, but it is difficult to leave if the partner doesn’t agree.

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