The executive producer of The Block has hit back at claims from viewers regarding alleged “bullying” on this year’s series.
Producer Julian Cress has rubbished suggestions of any kind of bullying between contestants and said that he’s “not happy” with viewers for claiming otherwise.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority received 28 reports regarding the 2023 season of The Block – now in its 19th season.
Speaking with TV Tonight, Cress refuted any suggestion that contestants have faced bullying and called out those who used the phrase on social media.
“We needed strong personalities. We needed a bit of psychological warfare. I would say that my expectations for all of that were dramatically exceeded,” he said.
“I see that people throw around words like bullying on social media. They were referring to Leah calling a body corporate meeting and asking Steph why she didn’t get her father inducted. It does not amount to bullying in my opinion. I understand that people choose sides with personalities in the show. But I’m not happy when contestants get accused of bullying when they didn’t.”
While the series has been airing, many viewers have lashed out at “mean girls” Kristy Beams and Leah Milton over their treatment of their co-stars.
However, the executive producer went on to insist that he doesn’t think anything will come from the ACMA investigation into the show following the accusations from fans.
“Bullying is abhorrent, and nobody should ever tolerate bullying in the workplace,” he said. “I don’t like it when people throw that word around as an accusation. In that case, I don’t believe that anything that Leah or Kristy or any of those people did on the show amounts to bullying. I mean, it may be considered bad behaviour by people, but bullying it’s not.
He continued: It’s conflict. It’s people talking s**t about other people behind their backs, which is what reality television has been since Survivor and Big Brother premiered 23 years ago.”
Meanwhile, it’s not the first time a reality show has been investigated over claims of bullying.
In 2021, ACMA launched an investigation into whether MAFS breached the Commercial Television Code of Practice after fans complained about the show for airing “gaslighting” and “abusive” scenes featuring Bryce Ruthven and Melissa Rawson.
It’s been a controversial year for The Block. The show hit headlines earlier this week following claims that the series had to be “re-edited” last minute.