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The Apprentice Contestants Request Removal Of Readers Comments From Reality Ravings

Gavin McInnes and Amy Cato, both contestants on Channel Nine’s reality TV show, The Apprentice, recently contacted me, requesting comments made by readers be removed from the site.

Both Gavin and Amy contacted me concerned about comments that were made on the site by readers. Obviously I have no idea whether the reader’s remarks were defamatory, however my blog’s policy is that any reasonable request of removal of comments will be considered.  

Both contestants own businesses and are probably concerned about comments which may cause a question mark about their integrity. 

Viewers of reality TV shows can sometimes be forthright in their opinions about performances, or how the “character” is edited. Fan forums, both official and unofficial, and blogs are an important part of reality TV. Chances are contestants not going to be loved by all. Criticism will range from minor, like the clothes people are wearing, to major where people dissect personality traits.

Gavin McInnes, who requested only one comment be removed, is a corporate lawyer, who has started his own company Stone Leaf Capital, a corporate advisory and capital raising company. 

In an interview with www.Sofix.com.au he also states he is in the process of setting up Stone Leaf Finance, which will broker all types of commercial finance solutions to businesses and companies in a range of industries. The interview would also indicate if he wins the show he may not take up the prize of working with Mark Bouris for a year.
Amy who is a partner in recruitment company Cato and Hall also requested comments also be removed from Reality Ravings.

Reality TV has become a vehicle for people to promote their businesses or themselves to obtain some long term benefit for themselves or their companies.

This can have some success, for example, MasterChef Australia contestant, Chris Badenoch successfully promoted his beer business Beer Masons whilst on the show.

However conversely there is a risk if you are portrayed badly on the show your brand may become damaged.

26 comments

1 Liss { 10.19.09 at 4:04 pm }

One phrase springs to mind: ‘thems the breaks’. They literally can’t follow every conversation and censor every opinion, people are going to have them… As you point out, it can go either way. That’s the risk you take when you play with the ‘big boys’ of ‘reality’ TV. Whether it is the reality or not.

2 Injera { 10.19.09 at 4:18 pm }

I’d have thought it was covered in Reality 101 that being a contestant will mean that:
1. complete strangers will form and voice opinions based on having seen your (edited) self on a show; and
2. anybody from your past with an axe to grind, or an interest in blacksmithing said axe with a view to grinding it, will take the opportunity to do so.

As Liss said, “them’s the breaks”.

3 Reality Raver { 10.19.09 at 6:27 pm }

As I said if someone contacts me I am happy respond to their concerns.

4 Kyvyny { 10.19.09 at 6:30 pm }

Who on earth would want to do business with people afraid of dissenters they would seek to quash those who speak negatively of them?

Just goes to show who you shouldn’t trust in business.

5 Injera { 10.19.09 at 6:34 pm }

RR – I think your policy is fair, I just wonder how contestants
a) manage to monitor the vastness that is the internet to track down all such comments
b) deal with less scrupulous webmasters/anonymous forums who don’t respond so well to their concerns.

Also – I have a feeling that Reality Ravings is becoming the go-to site for coverage on The Apprentice – well done!

6 dmc { 10.19.09 at 7:55 pm }

So, are you removing the comments?

7 Reality Raver { 10.19.09 at 8:03 pm }

DMC: I removed them as soon as I saw their requests, were you wondering if it was one of yours?

I should add, and I will probably get flamed for this, but the purpose of the site is to promote reality TV, particularly the Australian ones. Yes I can be a bit snarky at times, but I am a huge fan. Sure I have my favourite contestants on all the shows and that bias does show through at times.

8 Wurstsemmel { 10.19.09 at 8:14 pm }

I think your policy is largely fair but it is dependent on the kind of comment made. If, for example, regarding The Apprentice, someone commented ‘x performed poorly as a team leader’ or ‘x falsely advertised the product’, what’s the problem with that? If they ended up on the losing team and in the boardroom, there’s probably a good deal of accuracy in that. Does pointing that out here really have any greater impact than potential business contacts seeing ‘x’ underperform on the show?

Reality television contestants are putting themselves ‘out there’ and unless a comment is downright inaccurate or offensive, they need to be able to wear it. You might ask whether people really think through the implications before signing up?

I’m thinking NOT or else it’s a case of ‘wanting to have your cake AND eat it’.

I’d be interested to see the requests. Any chance, RR?

9 Wurstsemmel { 10.19.09 at 8:21 pm }

PS How are the contents going to monitor water cooler discussions? They’ll need Superpowers!

So what will we talk about following tonight’s episode, RR?

Mark Bouris’s lovely head of hair in comparison to The Donald?
How lovely the theme music is? Where can we source some of the furnishings from the Apprentice mansion? BTW Does anyone else think the mansion looks as if it’s unfinished?

So many benign things to pontificate on as it looks as if we must censor any discussion of the action?

Can’t wait till Sourkraut catches wind of this.

10 Reality Raver { 10.19.09 at 8:43 pm }

Wurstsemmel – The comments made were unrelated to their activities on the show. As I said I will consider all reasonable requests.

For example a person offended because it was written that they sang badly probably won’t be removed – unless of course their name is Maria Callas. Or if they fucked up a challenge etc. Or basically just came over as a twat on the episode.

The way the editors edit the show and how they present contestants is something they do to make us like or dislike the “characters”. For example they way they cut the scene where they showed Amy having a go at Sam last week was not put in to make her look good. Nor were a lot of scenes in that episode.

11 Wurstsemmel { 10.19.09 at 9:08 pm }

Ah, must have missed those then, RR.

It would be a shame not to be able to dissect the show (and others) here.

12 CG { 10.19.09 at 10:40 pm }

RR: Interesting and quite surprising news. But personally, I think you are on a slippery slope.

As Injera wrote, reality TV has now been around long enough that when reality TV contestants sign-up for these shows I don’t accept that they are not fully aware that complete strangers will form and voice opinions based on having seen them on the show, albeit often edited. If they deny knowing that this is part and parcel of being on reality television they are naive and/or in denial.

I also think it is the “voyeur” factor and social media link that drew the original audiences to some of the original and longest-running reality shows and it is blogs like RR that play a big role in sustaining these shows and making “stars” out of some the contestants. How many reality shows don’t have a website, message boards, blogs, behind the scenese videos, etc. etc.

I say you may be on a slippery slope because letting the contestants edit the public’s commentary about their participation on a reality show is akin to the “scripted” reality show model you described in an earlier article. This “scripting” is so far removed from the original intent of the reality model that it will not sustain the original reality fan base. Think Oprah Winfrey and Jerry Springer. Jerry Springer is akin to the “scripted” reality model compared to Oprah and most people who watch Oprah can’t stand watching Springer, it is a totally different demographic. Sorry, this is the only example I can think of right now. I’m sure there are better ones out there.

Anyway, it is your blog, I think you do a terrific job with it and I applaud your integrity and the fact you are maintaining your going-in principles. But I don’t want to feel constrained in making comments about any reality show because the contestants have the power to request my comments be removed.

Giving contestants this power would also seem to encourage if not validate future defamation claims. Reality television will die a quick death if any defamation suit by a reality contestant is ever successfully prosectued.

Food for thought for current and aspiring reality contestants: one of the most “beat up” reality contestants of all time has got to be Elisabeth Hasselbeck of Survivor Season 2 (I think they are now on Season 19!). The amount of vitriol about Hasselbeck on the Internet is astounding – but at the same time she also maintains a blindly loyal base of mid-Western, stay-at-home, Republican blondes. Hasselbeck and her agents don’t shut down the negative blogs and commentators because if they did, Ms Hasselbeck would be far less controversial, her supporters would be far less protective, and therefore Hasselbeck far less in demand (and far less compensated).

So to Amy and Gavin and your reality commrades, if you plan to leverage your reality experience in business or in other ways, you might think twice about trying to edit public debate about your time on the show. If you now think you are above reality television and want to distance yourself from the genre…well, too bad folks, you should have that about that before you signed on the dotted line.

Of course these are my opinions and YMMV.

CG

13 CG { 10.19.09 at 11:02 pm }

Back to business…in the middle of watching Apprentice right now.. I missed the first 10-15mins, why are they in Mudgee? Mark Bouris has just flown in to town…he really is a hunk! Eventus has clearly over-priced the deal and I don’t see how they can recover… As for Gavin, I hope he won’t mind me saying he looks like a younger Bouris, dimples and all.

14 Sim { 10.19.09 at 11:40 pm }

What is with the constant hugging on this show!?

15 Reality Raver { 10.20.09 at 12:25 am }

CG – Yes Mark Bouris is hot. I agree with a lot of your points. However I will only accede to reasonable requests. These requests were related to comments which were not related to a particular episode.

Sim – My theory on the hugging is that they are locked in a confined environment with just these people for weeks on end, and that is a side effect.

16 Injera { 10.20.09 at 7:46 am }

CG – I agree totally with your comments, particularly the example of Oprah/Springer and Elizabeth Hasselbeck. Having said that, though, I’ve given it a bit of thought and have decided that there would be a case for removing comments in some instances. While most of us on here participate in what is usually a fun discussion on something we enjoy as entertainment and might make a snarky comment about something we are seeing on the show, there are also people who might hold a personal grudge against a contestant and use a forum like this to push that agenda (and in the case of The Apprentice, damage a business rival).

As RR has reassured us, there’s not going to be censorship of discussion on our interpretations of what we see on the show. In fact, comments are not being “moderated” as such and will stand unless somebody makes a good case for removing them. And I think we can be pretty confident from past discussions (I’m looking at you, Masterchef threads!) that comments will be allowed to develop as they have in the past. I’m also guessing a participant is going to get pretty short shrift if they write in to whinge about the fact that somebody said they sang off key on Diva Night!

17 Miss Apprentice { 10.20.09 at 7:50 am }

Goodness me, if a contestant participates in a “Reality” t.v. show they don’t like what is being said about them because it may hurt their business outside the Show ????

Do they enter Reality t.v. Shows to only have their egos stroked and promote their own business ??

What a strange way to go about things as these Reality t.v. shows do more to expose how inadequate and self absorbed most of these people really are, than illustrate their business acumen or personal brilliance (!!)

18 CG { 10.20.09 at 9:51 am }

Injera: I agree that if comments are obviously made to attack and defame out of context of the show and a person participating in the reality show experience, there is grounds to delete them. However, perhaps the test is that such comments would be obvious to RR and other administrators based on the comment and/or the commentor…and not need to be monitored and requested by the former contestants?

Miss Apprentice: totally agree with your points; and did you notice the comments on the latest Apprentice show summary suggesting that a number of the contestants have come out and said they don’t want to work for Mark Bouris’ company (ie don’t want the prize)?; this seems to prove that many persons appear on these shows for self-promotion only, not the prize and not the “experience”. And quite frankly, I think unless you are in a business that is about self-promotion (e.g. a public speaker, entertainment, certain types of consulting), I think it shows really poor business judgement to go and appear on this kind of show if you are serious about your image and your career. I can’t imagine taking anyone in my business (banking) seriously if they were to go off for 2-3 months and appear on a reality show. Good grief.

19 charades { 10.20.09 at 11:24 am }

Any publicity good publicity ?
Obviously not.
I would be a little afraid for my business if I thought a comment or two on a forum site was going to bring things down.
Just how stable are these businesses?
Not knowing what comments they are referring to, I can only think they are being a tad precious.
Why do people go on these shows then whinge and soon when the obvious happens ?

Time for them to grow up.

20 Miss Apprentice { 10.20.09 at 2:15 pm }

Here we have a show where contestants don’t really want to work for Mark and Mark is most likely elated to be able to fire them as he doesn’t want them to work for him either, so that just leaves us watching and talking about a Show with absolutely no purpose, so why is this show on t.v. and why are we here ?? – LOL

21 sourkraut { 10.20.09 at 10:58 pm }

Ya gotta hand it to Chris B, no hint of complaint yet from him (R R or was there?) that I’ve seen on this site
Wurstsemmel I have turned over a new leaf. see my comments re Ep 3. I now realise naiceness is naice!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

22 Carly { 10.21.09 at 1:22 am }

Sourkraut- Chris B wouldn’t complain for two reasons. He was caught out fair and square, and if it wasn’t for all his ‘contravercies’ no-one would remember his name. I can’t help but think that with his past advertising experience he hasn’t been behind half of these stories.

23 sourkraut { 10.21.09 at 1:53 pm }

Carly
Its a strange world we live in. The court/jury could not make a ruling on the tragic death of the woman on the ship. How then would we convict the notorious CB? given that his “crime “on the show (regardless of his personal life discretions about which i know nothing) was no more than having a phone. Whatever recipes he may have got from outside he still had to cook them, and I doubt he was given the zumbo cake recipe by phone before the show.
You could be right though about “half these stories”. funnier things ahve happened

24 Wurstsemmel { 10.21.09 at 4:30 pm }

Aww. I kind of enjoyed the sour in Sourkraut.

25 sourkraut { 10.21.09 at 11:25 pm }

W Semmel
I doubt it will last, my supply of soma tablets is running out fast and if they keep putting b@%&y celery in all of the things that get cooked on all of the shows on tv i think the old sour gasket just might blow again! (and just dont dare put brussell sprouts on a cooking show! YEEECCCHHH)

26 al { 11.24.09 at 10:31 am }

What is it with Sabrina,the false smile frozen on her pretty face.Was prepared to forgive it as it could be down to nervousness,but her spiteful,jealous uncooperative performance in the final episode indicated a very unattractive character.