A petition calling for Married At First Sight ‘expert’ Mel Schilling to be sacked has accumulated over 50,000 signatures as of Wednesday morning.
And according to former contestant Sean Thomsen, the public outrage against Mel and the show has been a long time time coming.
After announcing he’d signed the petition on Tuesday, the 35-year-old FIFO worker spoke about his experience on set in a lengthy Instagram video.
Speaking out: Former Married At First Sight star Sean Thomsen (pictured) has revealed what ‘relationship expert’ Mel Schilling is REALLY like behind the scenes – as a petition calling for her to be sacked reaches 50,000 signatures
‘Hopefully the petition gets 50,000 and they kick Mel out. Everyone goes, “Mel’s awesome Mel’s awesome!” She wasn’t awesome to me,’ Sean said.
‘She ignored me the whole time, didn’t say s**t because I didn’t fit in that category,’ he added.
‘So, f**king kick her out. I don’t give a f**k, get rid of her. Cancel the show. It’s a f**king load of s**t so I’m pretty happy that it’s gone the way it’s gone.’
Bitter experience: ‘Hopefully they kick Mel out. Everyone goes, “Mel’s awesome Mel’s awesome!” She wasn’t awesome to me,’ Sean (pictured) said on Instagram on Tuesday
‘I was losing my mind’: Sean described his experience filming MAFS as overwhelming, and praised Australians for ‘waking up’ to the truth of reality television
Remember this? Sean is pictured with Tracey Jewel on last year’s Married At First Sight. They were originally matched with other people, but hooked up before filming the reunion
Sean also described his experience filming MAFS as overwhelming, and praised Australians for ‘waking up’ to the truth of reality television.
‘It kind of makes me realise that I’m not going insane,’ he said, adding that he was ‘losing [his] mind’ during the social experiment.
‘I know deep down in my identity and my core beliefs that I’m a good person. And I couldn’t believe the way that they were trying to portray me,’ he added.
‘I’m pretty happy about Australia finally waking up and realising how crazy it was and hopefully it’s just the start of it… It’s just ridiculous how they’ve gotten away with it for this long. So I’m pretty happy.’
Scandal: Mel (left) lectured Bronson Norrish (right) over his use of the C-word on Sunday’s episode of MAFS but failed to address Ines Basic’s ‘abusive’ behaviour, sparking a fan backlash
The backlash against Mel began after Sunday’s episode of Married at First Sight, which saw Bronson Norrish call his ‘wife’ Ines Basic the C-word during the first commitment ceremony.
While Ines voted to leave the experiment, Bronson decided to stay, forcing her to endure another week with him.
Explaining his decision, he said: ‘When we did the questionnaire thing, Ines was amazing that night, like, really amazing. I loved her to pieces that night.
‘Next morning, the Hulk came out. Straight back to a c**t. I’m not calling her a c**t, I’m saying she acts like a c**t’.
Double standards? Bronson called Ines (pictured) the C-word during the first commitment ceremony. He was scolded by Mel, but Ines was let off the hook for her use of foul language
A stunned Ines replied: ‘I don’t think this could get any worse.’
Psychologist Mel was horrified by Bronson’s slur, saying: ‘Don’t use language like that if you want any chance of a relationship with a woman.’
The pair were then told they would be forced into counselling, with fellow expert John Aiken insisting that Bronson needed to learn ‘respect’.
While he was criticised on the show, Bronson was widely praised on Twitter for standing up for himself.
He went there! Bronson’s castmates, including Elizabeth Sobinoff (pictured), were shocked by his colourful language
Many viewers claimed he was justified in calling Ines a ‘c**t’ after she had verbally abused him during their honeymoon in Port Douglas.
‘She’s been mouthing him off all week and she didn’t even get told off?’ one person tweeted, addressing the double standard.
‘The “experts” didn’t even mention her abusive tendencies but sure let’s go off about the word c**t’.
Another viewer wrote: ‘So verbal abuse is okay if it’s directed at a man, but it’s not okay to call the abuser out as a c**t?’
Going to ground: Following the backlash, Mel (pictured) locked down her social media accounts and Channel Nine restricted comments on the show’s official Instagram page
Justified? While he was criticised on the show, and sternly disciplined by Mel, Bronson was widely defended on social media
After the episode aired, Mel was personally slammed by viewers for lecturing Bronson over his use of the C-word, while seemingly letting Ines off their hook for her shocking behaviour.
A Change.org petition demanding that she is fired from the program rapidly gained momentum, receiving more than 50,000 signatures as of Wednesday.
In a statement on Monday, Channel Nine publicly supported Mel.
MAFS’ executive producer John Walsh told Daily Mail Australia: ‘There were 12 women in the room that night and a man used language that was highly insulting and inflammatory in reference to his wife.
‘Mel acted in the only way appropriate by calling out the language – language that is not ever considered acceptable anywhere, anytime.
‘We are shocked at the backlash Mel has received for defending another woman.’
Following the backlash, Mel locked down her social media accounts and Channel Nine restricted comments on the show’s official Instagram page.
Married At First Sight continues Wednesday at 7:30pm on Channel Nine
Taking a stand: Mel has been publicly defended by MAFS’ executive producer John Walsh, as well as her fellow ‘relationship expert’ John Aiken (right)