A petition calling for Channel 9 to apologise for airing controversial scenes on MAFS is rapidly gaining momentum.
A petition calling for Channel 9 to apologise for airing controversial scenes on MAFS is rapidly gaining momentum.

Fury over ‘toxic’ MAFS couple intensifies

A petition to force Channel 9 to apologise for a controversial Married At First Sight relationship is gaining momentum.

This season of the reality show has introduced one of the most scandalous couples yet with workplace trainer Melissa Rawson and radio DJ Bryce Ruthven.

Ruthven's behaviour toward his "wife" and other MAFS contestants has been scrutinised by the cast and the show's relationship experts multiple times.

After weeks of Ruthven's various conflicts unfolding on the show, a change.org petition - which has more than 10,000 signatures - has urged the Nine Network to apologise for "creating a distressing viewing experience", as well as its failure to "showcase that the relationship is clearly not healthy".

Rawson has not accused Ruthven or the network of wrongdoing.

JAMES WEIR RECAPS: Read all the MAFS recaps here

Bryce Ruthven and Melissa Rawson. Picture: Channel 9
Bryce Ruthven and Melissa Rawson. Picture: Channel 9

Created by Angela Rowell, the petition says: "(Melissa and Bryce's relationship is) not being handled by the network appropriately."

"These signs are being disregarded by producers and the network, creating a distressing viewing experience. There is a clear failure of duty of care to Melissa during filming of the show, allowing her to remain in a toxic environment with her partner for the 'benefit' of the network. She is being subject to emotional manipulation, isolation, and countless other TEXTBOOK signs of a controlling relationship."

The Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has reportedly received 41 complaints about this season of MAFS, compared to only 10 complaints last year.

One of the brides who appeared on last year's explosive season, Natasha Spencer, also shared the petition on her social media page.

RELATED: MAFS star Bec claims Bryce's forced kiss shut production down

Natasha Spencer was on MAFS in 2020.
Natasha Spencer was on MAFS in 2020.

Spencer talked to her own experience on the show during an Instagram video, saying she suffered an emotional breakdown after hearing allegations of sexual abuse while filming was taking place in late 2019.

The former reality star began referring to a woman working behind the scenes who screens the contestants before they appear on the show and checks in with them throughout filming.

"She (first) said to me 'Oh you've developed quite well for someone that was abused as a child'. And she is the woman that then (later) said, 'I don't know if Natasha should continue, there's too much triggering her'. 'Yeah, someone got sexually assaulted on our show and you guys are covering it up. It's triggering for anyone'.

"And now she's allowed Melissa to come on, who is quite obviously an anxious attachment style, and has a lot of insecurities and needs a lot of therapy to get herself into a good place before she gets into a relationship.

Bryce Ruthven and Melissa Rawson on MAFS. Picture: Channel 9
Bryce Ruthven and Melissa Rawson on MAFS. Picture: Channel 9

"They've also screened Bryce, who is a high rating narcissist, and they put them together. They've allowed it."

Another reality TV star, The Bachelorette's Georgia Love, joined the chorus of those speaking out against the show.

 

Channel 9 had not responded to news.com.au's request for comment at the time of publication.

 

Originally published as Fury over 'toxic' MAFS couple intensifies


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