A House Rules star won her case against Seven and will receive compensation after suffering a ‘psychological injury during filming that left her suicidal and unable to find a job.’
Nicole Prince, who featured on the show in 2017, said she lost work after being portrayed as a bully.
And on Wednesday, Married At First Sight’s Tracey Jewel, 37, told The Daily Telegraph that she has a good case against Channel Nine and production company Endemol Shine Australia and is considering taking legal action.
‘Lawyers want to take my case’: MAFS’ Tracey Jewel (pictured), 37, told The Daily Telegraph on Wednesday that she’s considering taking legal action against Channel Nine, for psychological distress as a result of starring on the show
‘To be honest, I’ve been inundated with people calling me and lawyers wanting to take my case, I’m a bit overwhelmed but it’s all positive,’ Tracey said.
‘It is obviously early days [but] taking legal action is something that I might do. I obviously need to do my own research but [Nicole’s case] has definitely opened a door to that being a possibility,’ she continued.
Tracey revealed to Daily Mail Australia in July that the backlash she received since appearing on MAFS early last year had made it difficult for her to find steady work.
‘No one will hire me, due to all this ongoing negative attention,’ she said. ‘My name and reputation is ruined.’
Positive: ‘To be honest, I’ve been inundated with people calling me and lawyers wanting to take my case, I’m a bit overwhelmed but it’s all positive,’ Tracey said
Struggles: Tracey, who has been open about her struggles with anxiety and depression, told Seven’s Sunday Night in August that being in the public eye ‘started the triggers’ for anxiety and that she become a ‘total recluse’
‘These people have ruined my life. I am suicidal most days,’ she added tearfully.
Tracey also told Seven’s Sunday Night the following month, that being in the public eye ‘started the triggers’ for anxiety and that she become a ‘total recluse’.
Nicole Prince, who featured on season five of House Rules with her friend Fiona Taylor, took legal action against Seven through the Workers Compensation Commission, which has published its findings in a damning 27-page report.
As first reported by TV Blackbox, the Commission’s Arbitrator Cameron Burge ruled that Nicole was an ’employee’ during her time on the show and that, during the course of her employment, she suffered a ‘psychological/psychiatric injury’.
Seven has been ordered to compensate Nicole for her medical treatment in relation to the injury.
Case won: Meanwhile Seven has been ordered to pay compensation to House Rules contestant Nicole Prince (right, with her friend Fiona Taylor) after she suffered ‘psychological injury’ during filming in 2017
In her statement, Nicole said she felt ‘harassed and bullied’ during filming.
She wrote: ‘During every camera interview, both myself and Fiona complained on film that we were being subjected to isolation, bullying and harassment by the other teams.
‘On one occasion I witnessed Fiona be physically assaulted. When I complained to Channel Seven, I was then threatened that Fiona and I would be portrayed negatively.’
Best friends Fiona and Nicole faced an onslaught of abuse on social media following their appearance on the show, with Nicole unable to return to work as a result.
Damning findings: The Workers Compensation Commission published its findings in a 27-page report, which ruled that Nicole was an ’employee’ during her time on the show and that, during the course of her employment, she suffered a ‘psychological / psychiatric injury’
WCC’s ruling ‘a game changer’ for television industry
‘The ruling by the WCC could be a game changer for the industry,’ says Rob McKnight, a former Channel 10 producer and editor of TV Blackbox.
‘Now, any contestant that feels they have been mistreated by television producers will have cause for taking action. A precedent has been set that could change what we see on TV.
‘No longer will producers be able to push contestants to their very limits simply because they’ve made them sign their lives away. This ruling shows production companies will have to take full responsibility for the welfare of those contestants, just like they would any other employee.
‘It’s likely this ruling will lead to legal action by previous contestants who feel they were treated unfairly by the production companies making these shows.
Who will sue next? Industry expert Rob McKnight says the WCC’s ruling could be ‘a game changer’ for the television industry. Pictured: MAFS ‘villain’ Davina Rankin
‘Networks have always said they have a duty of care, but the ruling that these contestants are actually employees is a game changer for the industry because there’s no doubt contestants are pushed to the very limits during production. They are sleep deprived, liquored up and prompted to say things they don’t actually mean.
‘The industry right now will be taking a moment to reassess what this all means and it’s likely to change what we see at home. Will these reality TV shows become less dramatic? It’s very possible.
‘We’ve just heard Married at First sight has halted production due to the welfare of one of the contestants. It shows there are severe consequences to playing with peoples emotions. I don’t think we’ve heard the last of this.’
Trolled: Fiona (right) and Nicole (left) faced an onslaught of abuse on social media following their appearance on House Rules, with Nicole unable to return to work as a result
In her statement, Nicole wrote: ‘Since our episode and program aired I have not been able to obtain work and have been informed this was due to how I was portrayed as a bully.’
‘I feel devastated and worthless about the loss of my career and working life. After my episode aired, I wanted to kill myself and I started drinking more alcohol in an attempt to self-medicate my injury.’
Seven’s defence team claimed that Nicole was not an employee of the network but the arbitrator ruled against them.
This was despite a clause in the contestants’ contracts declaring there is no ’employer / employee relationship’ during their time on the show.
If you or anyone you know is suffering from depression, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyondblue on 1300 22 4636.
Ordeal: Nicole (right, with Fiona on House Rules) felt ‘harassed and bullied’ during filming