Married At First Sight: Argument breaks out at dinner party
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Married At First Sight Australia’s resident relationship expert Mel Schilling, 49, has reflected on the “most difficult” experience she has had to deal with so far whilst working on the hit reality show. The psychologist and author opened up on the backlash she received from MAFS viewers due to her comments about contestant Bronson Norrish over his use of the C-word in reference to his on-screen wife Ines Basic.
Mel admitted she was subjected to “cancel culture” at the time and her job was targeted in a campaign to have her sacked from the series.
A Change.org petition was set up calling for Mel to be axed due to the incident, which received almost 70,000 signatures.
Speaking out about the abuse and death threats she endured from fans of the show, Mel said in an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk: “The most difficult experience I’ve had to date was a couple of years back when I experienced a real backlash from the Australian public.”
She added: “That was when we were filming season six.
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“I think it was a bit of a perfect storm in terms of the climate in Australia at the time sociopolitically, and what was happening on the show, and how it was edited, and then how our audience received it, and they just turned against me.
“It became cancel culture and it was a pile on and it absolutely snowballed, I had death threats and it was really tough.
“There was a campaign to have me sacked and 70,000 people signed it and it was really hard.
“So it was the dark side of having a profile [that] really put me to the test and I’ve learnt the most incredible lessons about resilience, but also having a bit of objectivity and separation from the work I do.”
Mel admitted: “It’s hard not to take it personally, because I do mostly, but it’s taught me to step back a bit and protect myself emotionally, particularly from the audience response.”
The television personality went on to reflect on the time she was branded “Australia’s most hated woman” amid the backlash.
Mel explained: “Aussies do love to critique and I guess it’s that pack mentality and it got to the point where it snowballed and it almost took on a life of its own.
“Some of the rags over here became very involved and were calling me Australia’s most hated woman.
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“It was out of control, it was just ridiculous, so that has definitely been the hardest or most difficult part.”
Despite her past struggles, Mel also shared her favourite parts of working on MAFS, admitting: “I do feel very deeply and sometimes I want to get off the couch and give someone a cuddle, or I’ve been seen on camera having a few tears before.
“I love the stories and I love when I give someone, or a couple, a little bit of advice and they take it on board and make some change in their life, or break a habit, and you get these great results and that’s what keeps me going.”
The criticism directed at Mel came after the first commitment ceremony on MAFS aired, during which 34-year-old Bronson said Ines was “acting like a c**t”, prompting Mel to call him out in front of the group.
Some viewers then accused Mel of having double standards about her response to bad language used on the show, as she made no reference to how Ines, 28, had verbally abused Bronson while on their honeymoon.
After an outraged reaction was directed at Mel, executives from the show’s broadcaster Nine said they were “shocked” by the backlash aimed at the relationship expert.
Nine’s Head of Content Production & Development Adrian Swift told TV Tonight at the time: “What shocked us was the reaction to Mel. We get that Ines behaved terribly with Bronson.
“Yes Ines was appalling, but you can’t treat women like that.”
He added: “The audience reacted in a way we didn’t see coming. Believe me, we spent hours talking about that episode.”
Confidence Coach and Relationship Expert Mel Schilling’s online coaching programme The C Word, to inspire and educate readers on how to build their confidence is coming this Summer. Visit www.thecwordonline.com.
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