MAFS star Lauren Huntriss has hit out at the producers of the popular reality TV show, accusing them of feeding her lines and Nine neglecting their duty of care to participants.
Huntriss, 31, who was matched on the show with “virgin” Matthew Bennett, revealed to KIIS FM hosts Jackie O and Beau Ryan she is “not coping very well” following viewer backlash after the couple’s exit on Sunday.
The reality TV star said she was forced by producers to say she “was a lesbian” during a key scene where she revealed to Bennett she had dated women in the past.
She told Jackie O and Beau Ryan: “My producer was like, ‘Fantastic, great, however, we’re going to get you to re-enact that, say it again but use the word ‘lesbian’.
“I was like, ‘I’m not OK with that, I don’t want to use that word, I don’t label myself as a lesbian … It didn’t feel right.
“[But] when you’re sleep deprived, you’re under all this pressure, you’ve got two cameramen there, your producer – and, of course, you all saw what Matt was like, he never really stood up for me. So it was like all of these men against me … They will literally say to you, ‘We’ll keep you here all day until you say what we want you to say'”.
Huntriss continued by saying she felt disgusted and was “so upset”.
She said: “For them to paint me as this nympho, it was just disgusting. I was let down”.
Huntriss also questioned why the show recruited people with pre-existing mental health conditions, revealing Bennett was “so crippled with anxiety that 80 per cent of the time we were filming, he would just shut down when things were overwhelming”.
She revealed many things were said off camera that concerned her, specifically one time when Bennett said to her: “‘Loz, I don’t think I fit in on this earth. I believe I was abducted by aliens, and they’ve done something to my brain. Because my brain’s been rewired differently; my brain hasn’t been the same since I was 15′”.
She said she felt “stupid, naive” for signing up to the program with the expectation of finding love, knowing that “producers will go to extreme lengths to tell a story”.
Meanwhile, ex-MAFS participant, Clare Verrall, recently spoke to Mamamia about her time on the reality show.
Verrall said following the show: “My family had to put me in a trauma facility for a month”.
Huntriss’ advice to prospective applicants? “Don’t ever do it. And if you do, you have to have the thickest skin”.
Endemol Shine Australia has rejected Huntriss’ version of events, saying she had continued access to support and chose “not to respond” to their attempts at contact.
A spokesperson for Endemol Shine said: “All participants are adults and remain in full control of the choices they make.
“They choose to apply to be on the show, choose to accept selection, and choose whether or not to continue in the experiment.
“During broadcast, we continue to reach out to every participant, including Lauren.
“They may choose not to respond to our contact and offers of support, and we respect their decision. But the offer of support remains for each and every participant. This always includes access to our show psychologist”.