"HANG your heads in shame, Channel Seven."
That was just one of the many posts on social media accusing Channel Seven of promoting bullying after last night's shocking episode of My Kitchen Rules.
After months of teasing the "MKR scandal", more than 1.6 million viewers [5 city metro] last night saw the unbelievable verbal attack that Sonya and Hadil launched on rival team, Jess and Emma.
In addition to criticising the women's appearance, Sonya and Hadil also threatened several other teams at the table, telling them: "We'll come for you ... don't you worry."
Sonya and Hadil were eventually asked to leave the table by judge Manu Feildel, but many viewers found the episode uncomfortable to watch and criticised the network for exploiting bullying behaviour for ratings.
Viewers also accused the TV network of being hypocritical after Sunrise launched an anti-bullying campaign earlier this year called "Beat The Bullies" with the aim to "fight for a change in policy and behaviours".
Yesterday a My Kitchen Rules insider told news.com.au that there was even more extreme behaviour from Sonya and Hadil that wasn't shown during the episode.
"You don't see the worst of it," the insider said.
"We're a 7.30pm show and it still had to be kept suitable for families. There was certainly a lot that happened that didn't make the show ... It was pretty hardcore."
In response to the criticism, a Channel Seven spokesperson told news.com.au today:
"Last night's episode of My Kitchen Rules dealt with an unprecedented level of continued personal attacks and threats by one team against other teams. Despite a number of constructive conversations and second chances, this team continued to bully and attack other teams.
"This level of behaviour does not fit within the agreed workplace values of Channel Seven. Everyone, anywhere and at all times must feel safe and supported in their work place. This is a fundamental understanding and agreement by each and every Seven employee."
Viewers however clearly felt that what did make it to air last night was too excessive and took to Twitter to express their outrage.
SHAME ON YOU @Channel7 for letting this happening on @mykitchenrules! Two ladies just bullying to others & name calling! That’s disgusting behaviour to be shown on television! No one should be BULLIED! Manu & Peter didn’t really do anything! That’s so disgusting! #MKR— David Grant (@deeigrant) April 18, 2018
I did not watch #MKR tonight. I saw enough from the promos. @Channel7 should be ashamed for airing (and heavily promoting) blatant bullying and harassment. Register your displeasure by not tuning in. Ratings are the only language they speak 😡🤬— 🏳️🌈Renee🏳️🌈 (@Coal_Front) April 18, 2018
Wow, if the Seven Network isn’t embarrassed by this they should be... I thought there have been campaigns to stop bullying of late and this is the opposite #MKR— Jeff Meyers (@rocket_speaks) April 18, 2018
News.com.au has contacted Channel Seven for comment.
So, the whole Sonya and Hadil scene prompted quite a positive conversation with young people in our household about bullying, and about nasty baiting tactics that bullies use. #mkr— Catherine JK (@creativecatjk) April 18, 2018
So far I’m really disappointed with the lack of action from other teams and especially Manu and Pete (&producers) for allowing this nastiness go as far as it has. @Channel7 #sun7 are supposed to be anti bullying campaigners. Ratings obviously come first #MKR— Morticia Jay (@MorticiaJay) April 18, 2018