Not long after it was revealed that a contestant on the 2022 season of Married At First Sight was ‘removed’ from the show after their ‘unacceptable’ social media posts came to light, a number of former stars of the franchise have voiced their opinions.
“Friends of mine that work behind the scenes have said to me, this is the story. They knew about this bloke about two, three months ago when the casting was happening,” he claimed.
“They didn’t do anything about it, they’ve kept the story hidden hoping that it might go away, and if it didn’t go away, then they’ll deal with it when it comes up.”
The season five groom went on to condemn the social media posts because they “crossed the line” and he was “absolutely disgusted” upon seeing them.
“I feel the show has really gone downhill since I’ve been on it. Every year just gets worse and worse and worse. Scandals, wife swaps, all that bullshit - just give us some love,” Nasser added.
After The Wash posted about the incident on Instagram, several ex-participants shared their thoughts in the comments.
“Channel Nine needs to be held accountable for the PTSD women have to deal with after dealing with people like this on their show,” Hayley Vernon wrote.
“Disgusting. You should be ashamed and hang your head in shame,” Steve Burley added, followed by Samantha Harvey who wrote: “He is going to cop it and I don’t feel one bit sorry for him!”
“Where is the duty of care?” Tracey Jewel said.
A number of contestants from other reality shows also chimed in, including Bachelorette Becky Miles who called the content “vile” and Bachelor In Paradise’s Jake Ellis who believes that the MAFS producers “would have known of the content”.
Former Bachelorette Angie Kent also shared on Instagram that she was “truly mortified” and called for her followers to “boycott” the next season of the popular TV show.
Angie also shared author Clementine Ford’s Instagram post about Blackburn in which Clementine questioned whether Channel Nine was unaware of his social media presence prior to his casting.
“You want us to believe you didn’t know EXACTLY who this guy is? That you didn’t do the most basic of internet searches on his fkn name?”
She went on to call Blackburn’s behaviour ‘appalling’ and say that the way he speaks about mothers, in particular, is ‘absolutely grotesque’.
The Wash also spoke to a variety of previous MAFS brides and grooms about what background checks are actually done by Channel Nine and production company Endemol Shine Australia during the casting process.
“They definitely do a check on your social media history,” Bryce Ruthven told the publication.
“The Nine and Endemol social media teams had already run a background check on all our socials and flagged some content that would be considered a target for online/public distaste. It was up to us whether we chose to delete it.”
“My TikTok was brought up on my socials check by their ‘social media team’, and so was an old account I used to have on Instagram, which I deleted years before the show,” Samantha Harvey detailed.
“I had police checks, all ID forms sent in and my entire web footprint brought up. This man didn’t slip through the cracks, I don’t believe that one bit.”
MAFS groom Simon Blackburn ‘removed’ from 2022 season
Simon Blackburn appeared in a teaser promo for the ninth season of the controversial 'social experiment’, which was released back in September at Nine’s Upfronts.
While none of the brides and grooms featured in the clip were identified, Daily Mail named Blackburn as the Melbourne-based groom on Monday.
Various TikTok and Instagram videos allegedly featuring Blackburn making homophobic and misogynistic remarks have since come to light.
In one video, Blackburn allegedly refers to gay men as ‘filth’ and in another, he says he wouldn't date any woman ‘over 60 f**king kilos’.
When Channel Nine was made aware of Blackburn's online activity, he was ousted from the show.
A spokesperson told Yahoo Lifestyle: "When unacceptable social media content was discovered in relation to Simon Blackburn we immediately took steps to remove him from the program. We won’t be making further comment.”
According to The Wash, Blackburn only appeared on MAFS for two weeks at the most and executives are now considering “deleting all footage from his wedding and editing him out completely”.
Blackburn appears to have since addressed the controversy via a post on his Instagram account on Tuesday in which he claims the sentiment in the resurfaced videos does not reflect his ‘current thoughts’. He also says that he is suffering Covid-19.
“To clarify, I haven't posted on TikTok in six months and all videos of me are reposts or screenshots of lives from last year! Not my current thoughts or mindset!
“No further comment will be given! I've got Covid, let me rest!”
Blackburn has been contacted for comment.
Additional reporting by Gillian Wolski.
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