Woman’s Day (Australia)
IS THIS THE END FOR MAFS?
For the first time in eight seasons, fans turn on the ‘toxic’ show
While the show has never shied away from controversy, this year Married At First Sight has incited intense fan backlash like never before – with many taking to social media to slam its bullying, toxic masculinity and “triggering” gaslighting behaviour by some of its contestants.
“This is getting really toxic now, what happened to all the love?” one user wrote on the show’s official Instagram account.
“The behaviours on this show are so disgusting. It’s not getting called out enough,” another wrote.
And with Nine deciding to mute comments on all of the cast’s Instagram accounts, fed-up viewers viewer have taken matters into their own hands h by starting a petition for the network to apologise over their alleged disregar disregard for their duty of care, pr primarily in regards to Bryce and Melissa, both 31. “This season features a couple, Melissa and Bryce, who portray an excessive amount of domestic violence (DV) signs which are not being handled by the network appropriately,” the petition bio reads.
‘Melissa is being subjected to mental torture’
“These signs are being disregarded by producers and the network and Melissa is being subjected to mental torture, very obviously to the viewer, creating a distressing viewing experience.
“Melissa is being subject to gaslighting, emotional manipulation, isolation, and countless other TEXTBOOK signs of a controlling and or abusive relationship.
“The network has also failed duty of care to viewers putting together a final edit that shows these signs, supporting the relationship, and completely ignoring the obvious signs of control and abuse Melissa is subject to. This situation is incredibly triggering and stressful to watch.”
Viewers have seen Melissa reduced to tears several times due to Bryce’s negative remarks, including when he described her as “not my type” but “not... ugly?”.
He was also accused of playing mind games with Melissa when he came to a commitment ceremony with “leave” written on his card, only to change it at the last minute to “stay”.
Throughout their relationship, Melissa has admitted she’s scared to upset Bryce.
Nine’s John Walsh, executive producer of MAFS, denied the allegations made in the petition, telling Woman’s Day, “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.
“We have very rigorous processes in place to protect all participants in the experiment. All participants have access to the show psychologist during filming, broadcast and once the program ends.”
At the time of print, the petition had more than 13,280 signatures with a goal of reaching 15,000.
On top of the growing fan backlash, Nine may also have an official investigation on its hands, after some disgruntled fans took their complaints to the Australian Communications and Media Authority.
The ACMA confirmed it has received 49 complaints about the current season, with four of them made in relation to concerns over Melissa and Bryce.
In a statement released to the media, the ACMA said they will “refer complainants to the broadcaster but if the complainant doesn’t receive a response within 60 days, or isn’t satisfied with the response, they may refer their complaint back to the ACMA who may choose to investigate”.
The backlash comes after fellow contestant Rebecca alleged production was shut down after villain Bryce forcefully kissed her o on the cheek during an explosive l dinner party, which aired two weeks ago.
Rebecca told the media the unwanted kiss had affected her so much production was halted for an entire day following the incident. dent. “It It was one of those moments ts where I had to bring the contract t up to even see what my rights are. re. I didn’t sign up for this,” she e said.