Image: Channel Nine
Following the tragic death of Love Island UK’s Mike Thalassiti over the weekend, former Big Brother contestant Tully Smyth has posted a lengthy message to those in the reality TV industry to do more for contestants’ mental health.
Taking to social media, Tully (who was the ‘villain’ of her season following a cheating scandal back in 2013) addressed show producers, viewers and her fellow contestants, writing:
“WE NEED TO TALK.
Mike Thalassiti’s (Love Island) death has been sitting heavy in my heart all week.
Because I remember being in a similar dark place back in 2013 and that terrifies me.
THERE NEEDS TO BE A CHANGE.
Reality TV isn't going anywhere, in fact it's only growing in popularity.
With every new show that pops up, every new season of The Bachelor or MAFS...I feel this sense of doom and panic. A sense of responsibility. Something maternal inside of me screams out and I just want to protect the people who are about to have their lives changed forever. Warn them. Prepare them. Support them.
THE NETWORKS NEED TO DO MORE.
The networks and producers...the show psychologists and PR teams need to do more in terms of supporting these people.
They need media training, BEFORE filming commences. They need better psychological testing. There needs to be greater responsibility and care taken with editing, regardless of ratings. The contestants welfare needs to come first, ALWAYS.
HOWEVER PERHAPS MORE IMPORTANTLY...
There needs to be more support offered after the show ends.
Compulsory psychological support. Weekly check up's. 24/7 access to a professional, unrelated to the show or network.
Then monthly face to face appointments ensuring the ongoing mental, physical and emotional stability and happiness of each and every single one of the contestants.
Even those you may think don't need it. Because let me tell you, they do.
We the public, the viewers, need to remember we're watching a TV show. A heavily edited, produced program designed for ratings and our entertainment.
Whether we agree with what we're watching or not- their actions and reactions- they are real people.
They are someone's sister or brother, husband or wife or child. None of us know these people in real life. None of us are perfect. We are all human.
So be smart. Be kind. Think before you type, troll, attack and share.
TO MY REALITY TV FAMILY...
Please remember: 'The people that mind, don't matter and the people that matter don't mind.'
My door is always open if you need a chat. Please reach out. 💙
Tully's message comes as viewers and critics of Married At First Sight have slammed the show’s creators over the treatment of participants.
When asked about whether producers interfere with the couples to specifically generate conflict and drama, relationship expert Trisha Stafford recently told TV Tonight:
“Not really. They film them. It’s an Unscripted television show. I mean you couldn’t script them.”
Fellow relationship expert Mel Schilling added: “That’s where it’s an experiment, and like any experiment you throw in different variables and see how people respond to that. So this is capturing the responses to that.”
What do you think about the treatment of and support for reality TV stars?
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