MAFS' Olivia and Alyssa hit back at producers' edit claims: 'They do force you to say things'

MAFS producers called out participants who 'blame the edit' for making them appear as 'villains'.

Former MAFS participants Olivia Frazer and Alyssa Barmonde have hit out at the show's producers who called out participants who 'blame the edit' for making them appear as 'villains'.

It comes after Yahoo Lifestyle spoke to the brains behind the hit reality series, including Endemol Shine Director of Content Tara McWilliams and executive producers Alex Spurway and Mollie Harwood, with the trio sharing their thoughts on why some participants don't "own" their edit.

MAFS' Olivia Frazer
MAFS' Olivia Frazer has hit out at producers' claims that participants can't blame the edit. Photo: Instagram/olivefrazer

"I think one thing that this experiment does is that it holds a mirror up to yourself," MAFS producer Alex told us this week. "So when you finally watch that back, sometimes people can get a shock as to how they thought they may have behaved compared to how they actually have behaved."

"We can't make them do what they didn't actually do," MAFS producer Mollie added. "We can't force people to say things, we can't put words in their mouths. Like, if they said it, they said it, if they did it, they did it."


Tara adds that participants who blame the edit after watching the show are simply choosing a "safe excuse".

"Instead of [owning their behaviour] the alternative is that the edit is a very safe excuse. The biggest gripe they seem to have is, 'OK, I was an a**hole in that moment, but what about all the other times I was nice?' and we would counter that with, 'Well, you were still an a**hole in that moment'," she said. "We can't show every moment of everyone, but we try and show as much as we can, because people aren't one-dimensional."

MAFS dinner party
The MAFS producers said that they believe the experiment 'holds a mirror up' to participants. Photo: Nine

"We warn them, before we start shooting the show, you're going to be an a**hole, the Australian audience is gonna see you being an a**hole and you're going to be judged on that," Tara added.

"And they may say 'You made my partner look like the good one and I'm the bad one', and it's like that's how we all saw it: we were shooting it, we were editing it, and we were giving them advice. That's how everyone else saw it, it was everyone else's reality but yours."

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'They do force you to say things'

Olivia was quick to take aim at the producers' claims, taking to Instagram on Friday to share a statement that read: "Let me not mince my words here: MAFS executive producers coming out and doing their yearly interview saying that their show 'holds a mirror up to the participant's self’ is the biggest crock of s**t.

"They're only coming out and saying this preemptive to the show (as they do every year) to defend their editing/manipulation/detrimental choices, to coerce the audience into believe their narratives (for ratings), to gaslight participants (both past and present) and to discredit the many voices that 'the edit' has crucified."

She continued, "EVERY YEAR there are more and more of us calling out the edit and that's for a reason. Please remember that when watching any reality show. When enough voices are saying the same thing, eventually the public will have to believe it."

Olivia continued saying her mental health was severely impacted following her time on the show, but feels that the counselling that was offered was inadequate to help deal with this. This was in reference to Tara saying MAFS offers their participants "robust support" to help them through the show.

MAFS' Olivia
Olivia has been open about the state of her mental health since leaving the show in 2022. Photo: Nine

"I want to acknowledge that would be very difficult, and that's part of why we have such robust support in place to handle to the best of their ability that criticism," Tara told us. "The public is brutal and they're brutal about anyone in the public space. We're in an age where anyone on social media gets caned for what they do. So I take my hat off to anyone and to all the participants who have put their hand up and said, 'I'll be a part of this.' It's very brave to do that."

Speaking with Yahoo Lifestyle, Olivia added, "[The producers] literally make you repeat questions back in your voxxies, so yes, they do force you to say things. They take sound bites and frankenbite your voice and play it over the back of your head to suit their storylines. Yes they do put words into your mouth."

‘Frankenbiting’ is where an audio clip may appear to be from one single audio clip, however, it actually features two or more separate recorded audio clips, which are then edited together to create a different narrative. You’ll often be able to tell when this has happened, as certain words may sound out of place.

'Physically sick'

Former MAFS star Alyssa Barmonde
Alyssa Barmonde says she felt 'physically sick' reading the comments from the show's producers. Photo: Instagram/alyssa_barmonde

Alyssa also spoke with Yahoo Lifestyle, sharing that the comments from the MAFS producers made her feel "physically sick".

"It was gaslighting 101 - 'it's not us, it's you'," Alyssa said, sharing the ways she believes the production teams get what they need from participants.

"Including: pretending to be your best friend so you feel 'safe', using real psychological tactics such as mirroring an emotion, crafting storylines, frankenbiting, [and] interviews are transcribed so they can use it to find a word or sentence."

MAFS' Alyssa
Alyssa also left the show with her mental health in a bad state. Photo: Nine

"The fact they have nothing to say about encouraging the relentless bullying and trolling contestants receive other than us being brave is a slap in the face," Alyssa said. "They take zero accountability."

Like Olivia, Alyssa revealed that her mental health was also severely impacted, but is thankful that she had a "good support system around me to help me through the darkest time of my life".

She finished by saying, "Until the way reality TV is produced and manipulated in Australia changes, it's not going to end well."

Mental health support for yourself or a loved one can be found by calling Lifeline on 13 11 14, Mensline on 1300 789 978, or the Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800. Online support is available via Beyond Blue.

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