‘Inexcusable’: ‘Expert’ slams MAFS husband
MARRIED At First Sight "expert" Mel Schilling has defended herself amid heavy backlash over her decision to rebuke Bronson Norrish for calling his partner a "c***".
The psychologist stood firm on her decision to call out Bronson at last week's commitment ceremony, even though it came after he'd suffered a week of verbal abuse from his "wife" Ines Basic.
Ms Schilling insisted that even with the benefit of hindsight, she'd "absolutely" do it again.
"If you looked around the room and saw all the brides and grooms, their reaction was the same," she told the panel of MAFS spin-off show, Talking Married.
"Using that language is inappropriate and in any setting, toward any person, I'm going to call that out, whether it's a man or a woman."
Fellow "expert" John Aiken weighed in on the drama, pointing out that their role doesn't allow them to see everything that goes on with the couples.
"People are absolutely invested in this show and in the couples, and they were really outraged by some of the behaviours that they'd seen," he explained.
"What's important to know is that the experts only see the dinner parties and commitment ceremonies, so we're dealing with what's in front of us."
Ms Schilling also addressed the notion that Bronson's behaviour "should be excused because he was provoked" by Ines.
"It's actually never excusable to use that language toward anyone, because it's disrespectful … and can have lasting effects," she said.
"But … if people stay with us, they're going to see us call out all sorts of behaviour, and particularly the women - the women are called to account on a number of occasions, so there really is a balanced approach."
Annoyed viewers first took to social media to complain about Ms Schilling reprimanding Bronson for calling Ines Basic a "c**t" during Sunday night's episode.
"When you use language like that in relation to a woman, how do you expect her to respond to you? A tip from me to you: Don't use language like that if you want any chance of a relationship," Ms Schilling told Bronson.
While Bronson found himself in hot water over his comments Ines did not, despite berating her "husband" throughout their wedding and honeymoon.
On Monday, a Change.org petition was created calling for Ms Schilling to be sacked over her "double standards". As of Thursday, it had attracted more than 57,000 signatures.
Meanwhile, Nine executive producer John Walsh has said he was "shocked at the backlash Mel has received for defending another woman".
"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," he said in a statement to 9 Honey.
"Mel acted in the only way appropriate by calling out the language - language that is not ever considered acceptable anywhere, anytime."