Channel Nine’s ratings juggernaut Married At First Sight is officially under investigation by The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).
It comes after ACMA confirmed to Daily Mail Australia in March that it had been flooded with complaints about the controversial series’ most recent season.
Channel Nine’s Married At First Sight will be forced to answer for its most controversial season yet as media watchdog ACMA launches an official investigation into the reality TV show following viewer complaints. Pictured MAFS star Cyrell Paule violently attacking co-star Martha Kalifatidis over a rumour her ‘husband’ Nic Jovanovic touched Jessika Power’s leg
It is unclear which episodes of this year’s season of MAFS sparked the complaints in question – of which ACMA claims it is representing three.
MAFS, which can be streamed on 9Now, appears to be classified on a case-by-case basis, with content ranging between PG and M ratings.
Of the 41 episodes that aired in the sixth season of MAFS, 28 episodes were classified as M, while only 13 received the family-friendly PG rating.
Under the existing Code of Practice for Australian free-to-air television, any program which garners an M rating must start after 7:30 pm for evening viewing.
Furthermore, any program which falls in the MA15+ classification zone can only be broadcast between 8.30 pm and 5.00 am on any given day.
Could this mark the end of MAFS? On Saturday, The Courier Mail reported ACMA has launched an investigation into MAFS over ‘complaints from three viewers about the classification’ of the provocative program. Pictured MAFS stars Cyrell (left) and Marta (right)
The ACMA media unit issued a statement on Friday, which read: ‘Three complainants have come to the ACMA about Married At First Sight after complaining to the licensee first. The ACMA is investigating compliance with section 2 (classification) of the commercial TV code of practice.’
If a viewer believes a broadcaster has breached a section of the commercial TV code of practice or shown content that was classified incorrectly, they must raise a complaint with the broadcaster of the program or content in question.
The station has 60 days to respond, and if the complainant is not satisfied with the response they can refer it to ACMA for investigation.
ACMA is an independent government agency which monitors the regulation of broadcasting, radiocommunications, telecommunications and online content through legislation, regulations, standards and codes of practice.
Daily Mail Australia contacted Channel Nine for comment.
The sixth season of Married At First Sight was laden with scandalous on-screen antics, including multiple ‘affairs’, verbal abuse and full-blown physical violence.
Explosive: The sixth season of Married At First Sight was laden with scandalous on-screen antics, including multiple ‘affairs’, verbal abuse and full-blown physical violence
Drama: In March, viewers were left stunned when Martha (left) poured red wine over Cyrell (right) head which led to a fight breaking out
In March, ACMA confirmed to Daily Mail Australia it was flooded with complaints about this year’s season of MAFS, which critics claim promoted ‘infidelity’ and ‘bullying’.
‘The ACMA has recently received complaints about [Married at First Sight],’ the statement read. ‘Complaints about broadcasts are referred in the first instance to the licensee for consideration.’
In addition, a Change.org petition calling for the show to be banned received more than 24,000 signatures at the time.
The complaints mostly stemmed from Jessika Power’s on-screen affair with Daniel Webb, which was revealed on the show in February.
Their TV spouses, Mick Gould and Tamara Joy, were left humiliated by the betrayal and left the experiment in tears.
Sleazy: Jessika (left), 27, and Dan (right), 35, caused further controversy on the show, when a graphic bedroom scene strongly suggested the pair had sex
Outrage: Thousands signed a Change.org petition calling for Nine to cancel the show
Jessika, 27, and Dan, 35, caused further controversy, when a graphic bedroom scene strongly suggested the pair had sex.
The scene, which was described as ‘disgusting’ by viewers, showed the car salesman standing in his underwear and crawling into bed with the administrative assistant.
The 25-second clip showed the frisky pair passionately kissing under the covers, before Dan reached over and turned the light off.
Backlash: In February, another Change.org petition calling for expert Mel Schilling (pictured) to be sacked also went viral and garnered more than 68,000 signatures
Double standards: Mel previously came under fire after she scolded Bronson Norrish (left) for saying his wife Ines Basic (right) was ‘acting like a c**t’, but failed to hold Ines accountable for her own abusive language on the couple’s honeymoon
Backlash: Critics signed this petition after Mel’s tense exchange with Bronson
In March, viewers were left stunned when Martha Kalifatidis poured red wine over Cyrell Paule’s head at an explosive reunion, which led to a fight breaking out.
Earlier in the season the pair were involved in another alteration when Cyrell violently attacked Martha over a rumour her ‘husband’ Nic Jovanovic touched co-star Jessika Power’s leg suggestively during a dinner party.
In February, another Change.org petition went viral with more than 68,000 viewers calling for expert Mel Schilling to be sacked.
The psychologist came under fire after she scolded groom Bronson Norrish for saying his wife Ines Basic was ‘acting like a c**t’, but failed to hold Ines accountable for her own abusive language on the couple’s honeymoon.
Hurling insults: Another pairing which raised concerns among viewers was that of Billy Vincent (right) and Susie Bradley (left). He was left in tears after being harshly criticised by the single mother, who claimed he was ‘not manly enough’ and ‘too small’
‘When you use language like that in relation to a woman, how do you expect her to respond to you?’ Mel said furiously.
‘A tip from me to you? Don’t use language like that if you want any chance of a relationship.’
The pairing of Bronson and Ines wasn’t the only match that raised concerns, as Susie Bradley and Billy Vincent also had a toxic relationship that upset viewers.
Weight concerns: However, the most talked-about groom was Samuel Ball (right), who infamously complained about his wife Elizabeth Sobinoff’s (left) weight on their wedding day and claimed she was ‘bigger’ than women he’s used to dating
At one point, Billy was left in tears after being harshly criticised by the single mother, who claimed he was ‘not manly enough’ and ‘too small’.
However, the most talked-about groom was Samuel Ball, who infamously complained about his wife Elizabeth Sobinoff’s weight on their wedding day and claimed she was ‘bigger’ than women he dates.
Also in February, viewers accused the show’s producers and cast member Lauren Huntriss of making a mockery of LGBT issues.
The 31-year-old makeup artist told her husband Matthew Bennett that she ‘used to be a lesbian’, and many fans objected to her clumsy and insensitive phrasing.
Viewers also felt for Matthew during the show, as he was labelled the ‘virgin’ groom and appeared to be pressured to consummate his TV marriage by wife Lauren.
Married At First Sight sees relationship experts match complete strangers, who then get ‘married’ upon meeting each other for the first time – however the ‘marriages’ are not legally binding.
Backlash: Also in February, viewers accused the producers and cast member Lauren Huntriss (left) of making a mockery of LGBT issues. The 31-year-old makeup artist told her husband Matthew Bennett (right) that she ‘used to be a lesbian’, and many fans objected to her clumsy and insensitive phrasing