Mental health quiz used to vet wannabe MAFS contestants
Mental health quiz used to vet wannabe MAFS contestants

Take the quiz used to vet wannabe MAFS contestants

DO YOU cry easily? Have you recently had temper outbursts you could not control? Ever think about ending your own life?

These are among the questions hopeful contestants for Married At First Sight were required to answer by producers Endemol Shine Australia before being chosen to participate in the show's 2018 edition - as well as legal contracts lawyers say are "exploitative" and "shocking".

The documents were revealed by several former MAFS participants who spoke to The Sunday Telegraph about the lingering psychological and financial damage they believe the show caused their lives.

Their claims come in a week when the show hit new dramatic heights, with contestants Sam Ball and Ines Basic depicted snuggling in bed together, apparently after having had sex with people not their "spouses", and bride Lauren Huntriss going public to accuse the show of unfairly depicting her as a "nympho".

MAFS villain Ines Basic, who was this week shown in bed with another man not her “husband” looking downcast on Friday. Picture: Diimex
MAFS villain Ines Basic, who was this week shown in bed with another man not her “husband” looking downcast on Friday. Picture: Diimex

Clare Verrall, a contestant in 2015, said she felt so desperate she attempted suicide twice after the show ended and warned: "They will keep making this show bigger and bigger, casting more and more vulnerable people until someone takes their life."

Tracey Jewel, a 2018 contestant who also attempted self-harm after the show ended, said producers deliberately got her and other contestants drunk to precipitate conflict.

"Looking back on it I can't believe how manipulated we were," Jewel said.

"Each couple had one producer that would be there all the time - literally, all the time.

"And that producer kept pressuring us to create arguments from nothing or keep bringing up the affair.

 

Do you have what it takes to be on MAFS?
Do you have what it takes to be on MAFS?


"Your glass is always topped up, your waterglass is never topped up and there is little food offered," she said.

"You are not eating, you are drinking and you are sleep-deprived. You know what producers want you to say so to be honest sometimes you just say it so you can go home and sleep."

Another former contestant, Simone Lee Brennan of the 2016 season, said producers had her fill out "tedious questionnaires" to help find her perfect match, only to find she had been matched to a man producers had randomly approached at a cafe.

 

Former MAFS star Tracey Jewel this week warned people against auditioning for the show. Picture: Sam Ruttyn
Former MAFS star Tracey Jewel this week warned people against auditioning for the show. Picture: Sam Ruttyn

Before progressing to the 2018 season, contestants were asked to complete a range of documents including a 90-question "Psych Test" asking participants to rate from 0-4 the extent to which they experienced symptoms in the past seven days.

The symptoms included: "Feeling that people are unfriendly or dislike you", "feelings of being trapped or caught", "feeling inferior to others" and "having urges to break or smash things".

Another questionnaire asked participants whether they agreed or disagreed with statements including:
"I feel that I am a person of worth, at least on an equal plane with others", and "I certainly feel useless at times".

MAFS producers Endemol Shine Australia required 2018 contestants to sign a contract including sweeping provisions consenting to "irrevocably grant to the Producer all right, title and interest in all media throughout the world in perpetuity to … edit, adapt or use the recording, at its sole discretion", as well as other clauses agreeing to "communicate, edit, adapt or exploit any photographic or video material … regardless of whether such an act is an infringement of any moral rights, without requiring my consent or making any payment to me".

The Sunday Telegraph showed the contract to two lawyers, both of whom said nobody should ever sign such an agreement without first seeking legal advice.

James Chrara, of Shine Lawyers, said it was "a dangerous deed to sign if you're someone concerned about damage to your image, reputation or psychological wellbeing".

"The deed offers some shocking clauses such as the talent irrevocably granting producers the right to control content in perpetuity - in other words, they're signing over their rights to producers forever, with no specified end date," he said.

 

 

Ines Basic at Sydney airport on Saturday. Picture: Diimex
Ines Basic at Sydney airport on Saturday. Picture: Diimex

"Talent on the show are consenting to total manipulation of their on-screen personas."

Solicitor Farshad Amirbeaggi, a director of Yates Beaggi Lawyers, described the contract
as "prejudiced".

"Is it exploitative and is it harsh and unjust? It is," Mr Amirbeaggi said.

Endemol Shine declined to comment.

Current season contestant Lauren Huntriss this week also slammed the editing process which, she said, has painted her as a "sex freak" and a "nympho".

"I felt disgusted (when I first saw the edited version), and I was so upset," she said.

Reality television producers across the industry say Nine and Endemol Shine are simply highly efficient producers who know how to engineer the drama viewers expect.

"Endemol Shine is known for fitting talent with earpieces and coaching them to get the best possible grabs as efficiently as possible," one TV veteran said.
"Anyone who imagines these programs are real are being taken for a ride or are fools."

Couples therapist at Equilibrium Psychology, Lidia Smirnov, said the MAFS "experts", Dr John Aiken,
Dr Trisha Stratford and Mel Schilling, should "hang their head in shame."

"A relationship and finding true love should not be for entertainment," she said.

 

 

Sam Ball leaves his apartment on Saturday. Picture: Damian Shaw
Sam Ball leaves his apartment on Saturday. Picture: Damian Shaw


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