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Is Claire Winton Burn Collateral Damage In The Masterchef Media Feeding Frenzy?

Masterchef Australia contestant Claire Winton Burn has found out just how tough reality TV can be as her love life has made national headlines, and has been gossip mags and blogging fodder.

But is she this year’s whipping girl by the publicity departments to feed the ferocious appetite of the media for Masterchef news?

When you go on a reality TV show the production company and casting agents look at the massive application forms to find people with a interesting story. Also part of this process is looking in detail into their personal lives which will be used to promote the contestant’s and the show throughout the series.

Hence this week there is a staged picture of Courtney and her partner. Also earlier there were the wedding pictures of Jonathan Daddia and his wife.

Rumours are now circulating that maybe the publicity departments added fuel to the fire on the Claire Winton Burn saga when they could have killed the story straight away, however did they decide to keep the story going to ensure Masterchef Australia media saturated the market?

The story went from a married man leaving his wife after she had just given birth to their third child, to him only having one child and the marriage was over prior to the legal colleagues taking up a relationship.

Claire has definitely become collateral damage in this whole scenario, something she has acknowledged to Woman’s Day.

In the article she believes her chances of winning Masterchef has been compromised by claims she is a “home wrecker”. She also says all the attention over her relationship with a married man is an “unwanted distraction” as it reaches the pointy end of the competition.

She has declined to comment on claims she caused the breakdown between lawyer Trevor and his ex-wife, Narelle. However friends insist the marriage was over before they met.

She said to Women’s Day “It’s obviously a difficult conversation for me to have,” and “But my private life is private and that’s the way it’s going to stay.”

The person who has kept a dignified silence under this intense media pressure is the ex-wife Narelle, because if she had an axe to grind now would be the perfect opportunity to do so.


1 brain dead dave { 07.06.10 at 4:11 pm }

Should I bother with pretentious types like yourself that can’t spell “surreptitiously” while at the same time mocking others for their comprehension skills? Nah.

I”ll leave you to make a “Leave Claire Alone ” video to put on You Tube,Paul..

2 realityravings { 07.06.10 at 4:34 pm }

Kaylen – I think you make some good comments here.

A case in point is a go out to lunch and I come back and there is 51 comments on the blog, however take out Paul’s and CG’s and I would probably have 25!

Paul and CG – FFS you two just move from one post to another. At times I am amused by it, but sometimes not so much. Anyway this time I will clarify my comments re: the Claire situation. As it may have been clear. I believe Claire’s chances of winning have been diminished because of this scandal. A friend of hers who contact me also believes this to be the case, and I think Claire thinks this is the case. Whether we are right is yet to be seen.
However Claire should utilise the amount of publicity she is generating in a positive way. In a sense that was one of the reasons I was disappointed that Joanne Zalm did not come back as I think she would have seen a lot of positivity towards her.

In a sense viewers are a bit like lemmings, I include myself in this and I switch who I like and dislike over the course of the show on how they have been edited. Jono has been my fave for awhile, but I think Adam is my favourite at the moment. And in the last week chances of me swinging behind Marion are high.

3 duke nukem { 07.06.10 at 5:56 pm }

Paul or brain dead dave….

i’m curious to know if the contestants get regular access to a councilor?
i remember that the the Big Brother house mates did.
it’s getting harder to watch as some of them appear to fall apart.
would love to know more about the behind-the-scenes production,
it’s such a mysterious machine.

4 Pollywaffle { 07.06.10 at 6:11 pm }

highly amused by the blogites, now taking blogging to the next dimension….is a quote from a previous blog not in the current crop of blogs a ‘blog from the bog’?

5 Pollywaffle { 07.06.10 at 6:20 pm }

DN – good point , would be interesting to see the quals for the MC “life coaches’ My first word would be ‘actually you need a life”.

Moreover I can see some bloggers may need counselling once MC finishes – taxi drivers, check out chicks, parking officers and assorted customer service operators steel your loins as I feel a fireball of unvented angst approaching in about 2 weeks time

6 Reality Raver { 07.06.10 at 11:34 pm }

Duke Nukem – I think they do have regular access to counsellors. I think one the issues at the moment is they are all exhausted, therefore there coping mechanisms are non-existent.

Pollywaffle – I’ll be going to a bloody day spa after Masterchef finishes as it is like a blogging marathon. But what else are people going to talk about at work?

7 CG { 07.07.10 at 2:18 am }

AW: I didn’t get the pre-edited post you refered to as I don’t subscribe to the comments. Can you post it, tell me what the gist was or email it to me?

RR: any chance of adding a PM function?

8 Zibb { 07.07.10 at 9:39 am }

For a moment there ‘comprehension’ became the insult buzz word.
Not to start anything big now that it seems to have calmed down, but Jenny, I think what Paul (and I) are questioning is whether you need to stop your kids from watching masterchef because there is some bad publicity around it. Watching the show isn’t going to expose them in any way to any of the “scandals” currently surrounding it

9 Reality Raver { 07.07.10 at 10:30 am }

CG -What is a PM function?

Zibb – Personally I don’t think kids are going to be harmed by watching Masterchef, however you may run the risk of them asking for an ice cream maker for xmas or finally working out how bad a cook you are (the reason my kids don’t get to watch it).

I think after the whole Chris B thing last year I think anyone thinking that there personal life was going to remain private was deluded. With the way the social media is these days, anyone who knows you can post something about you, both good and bad.

I suppose Claire has been the unfortunate one in this case. But as I said she should use it to her advantage, as everyone is now interested in her, and she certainly not flying under the radar.

10 Reality Raver { 07.07.10 at 10:31 am }

I should add I wonder if a reality TV contestant, particularly a masterchef one as they do seem to more articulate then the average reality star will one day write in detail about their experience on the show. I think that would be a bestseller. In fact anyone reading it I am more then happy to ghost write it for you.

11 Paul { 07.07.10 at 10:34 am }

PM = Private Message function.
Strange that certain posters would be interested in this……

I think PM functionality is only available to the bigger open forums like Vogue or Big Footy. And I’m pretty sure (but don’t quote me) that you have to pay for it.

Thats exactly what I meant.

12 Paul { 07.07.10 at 10:36 am }

I’ve always wondered why a Big Brother contestant hasn’t written a book. The franchise is dead now so I don’t know what harm it would be unless their contract has tied them up for decades.

13 Pollywaffle { 07.07.10 at 11:19 am }

RR, you could ask Alvin Wonton Burnout if he’s interested in coauthoring your Masterchefology Edition

14 CG { 07.07.10 at 11:26 am }

RR, PM = Personal messages; allows blog members/users to take off topic questions “offline” and quibbles as well, so as not to distract and bog down threads. Pehraps the blog format you use doesn’t allow for it which is cool. Some other boards I frequent use it and it works a treat. And leave it to Paul to make take my innocent question/suggestion and try to stir up sh*t with his response. Sigh.

15 Pollywaffle { 07.07.10 at 11:29 am }

CG how do you slam the door in a thread?

16 Jenny { 07.07.10 at 11:35 am }

I disagree with the kids comments. Kids don’t just watch these reality TV shows in isolation. They talk with their friends about all the gossip surrounding them. So when that gossip turns sour, that’s when a show stops being a family show, in my opinion. Take other family themed entertainment for example. What if salacious rumours started circulating about the Wiggles? Would parents still be happy to let their kids watch them – because what happens off air is irrelevant? No way! It would put us parents off. These shows come as a package. They’re not just what’s seen during a 7.30 – 8.30 time slot. They’re everything else that comes with them – in the press and on the internet (why do you think MC has its own website?). So it’s wrong to think that kids watch these shows in isolation. And it’s wrong, I think, of MC to circulate stories about Claire’s personal life (if that’s what they’re doing) when they know that kids will pick up on it.

Besides, I thought this blog was all about Claire being bullied and exploited by the media because of Master Chef’s PR team? Isn’t that what RR was originally suggesting?

17 Paul { 07.07.10 at 11:42 am }

Hi Jenny,
Understand what you’re saying now.

For me , little kids (under 10) probably aren’t interested in the outside goings on and more just the show itself so IMO there is no harm in letting them watch it.
Older kids will gossip about the rumours – yes I agree. I guess its up to the individual parent. Me personally – wouldn’t really bother me that much. But I’m not going to judge on what you feel is best in that situation.

Still think you need to understand that is is pretty unlikely that MC itself circulated those stories about Claire. There is no benefit to them for the reasons you mentioned with your own kids.

If they did do it – then its wrong.
But did they do it ? Very, very unlikely.

18 Charles { 07.07.10 at 11:57 am }

Paul, as a matter of fact, I have a friend at Freemantle Media and the friend let slip a few nights ago that they do actually (and deliberately) leak information about the contestants. Like you say, I’m not sure what’s in it for them because IMO it’s counterproductive. But there you go. I’m only repeating a rumour mind you, and I wouldn’t want to get my friend into trouble by revealing any more. But my friend seemed to feel quite bad about it. They mentioned that there might have been a leak about Claire’s parents’ names recently and they felt that was going a bit too far, to involve the parents etc….

19 Paul { 07.07.10 at 12:03 pm }

Of course they leak information. Never disputed that at all. It would be a strange production company that didn’t. That does not mean that all information about MC contestants comes from them though. Only certain information.

Anyone would be able to get hold of Claire’s parents names if they really wanted to. Nothings a secret these days. Just look up Winton Burn in the phone directory and work from there.

20 Reality Raver { 07.07.10 at 12:56 pm }

Insiders leak all the time, in the Woman’s Day article there was a quote I did not put in because I thought it was taken out of context.
An “insider” which could mean anything ie contestant, or production crew, or media team, said that Claire received a letter from her parents which made her cry. They in the article they seemed to imply they were being critical of her, but my opinion the parent’s probably wrote her a letter saying how proud and supportive they were of her.

Jenny – Well actually there was some salacious gossip about The Wiggles earlier this year….. as you can tell I am a huge buyer of the weekly gossip mags, all for blogging purposes of course.

CG – Sorry CG PMing is way beyond this blogs capabilities and mine.

Pollywaffle – Alvin would be perfect or Claire in fact there is probably a “fictional” book in this. I know Ben Elton did his fantastic satire on the Big Brother. I reckon there must be clauses in the contracts that stop them from talking about the production of the show.

21 Pollywaffle { 07.07.10 at 1:12 pm }

RR you’ve got to call the book ‘Princess and the Pea ‘

22 Reality Raver { 07.07.10 at 1:33 pm }

Pollywaffle – Great title, I will dedicate the book to you.

23 sourkraut { 07.07.10 at 2:30 pm }

its all part of the set-up. DUH! When ten decided Chris b was not to win last year all the bullshit was leaked out and all the pathetics that had some sort of a whinge cut him to shreds. Obviously this gave the excuse to ten to bone him

24 Reality Raver { 07.07.10 at 2:32 pm }

Sourkraut – I don’t think Ten knew about the multiple women. But they or the other contestants probably leaked the romance between him and Julia Jenkins.

25 Paul { 07.07.10 at 2:35 pm }

I’m almost certain that the stuff about Chris and the multiple women only came out after the series finished.

Even his fling with Julia was only a vague whisper almost the whole series.

26 Fiona { 07.07.10 at 5:15 pm }

RR – love your blog btw :) Ben Elton also wrote a ripper about X Factor/Idol – Chart Throb I think it was called.

I also think Tim Brunero has spilt quite a few beans over the years about his time in BB. Not sure if he has written a book, but he should.

I think if anyone takes RTV at face value they are nuts. It is so contrived. Unfortunately contestants are fodder for anyone and everyone. So, as you say RR, make it work for you.

27 Sourkraut { 07.07.10 at 10:02 pm }

Agree RTV is UN-RTV
Disagree about making it work. I hate seeing people bullied by the meedja with the excuse they are making it work OR the other tired oldie “THe public has a right to know”

28 Reality Raver { 07.08.10 at 3:34 pm }

Paul – Chris B story came out before end of season one it just was the story that kept on giving. My specialist subject is the Chris B debacle.

Fiona – I will have to get Chart Throb and read it. For someone who is so scathing of the genre he writes about it alot. I would have thought Tim Brunero was the obvious one to write a book like that. However since they were locked in the house it would be a different experience from the masterchef one where they would see a lot more of the production going on.

29 ella { 07.09.10 at 2:48 pm }

It is apparent from the show that Claire is an intelligent woman. She would have been aware of exactly what she was getting into when she decided to audition for the show given the Chris B scandal of last year (and how the media would respond to her long term involvement with a married man). The point is that she decided to go on the show regardless of the collateral damage that would flow to others. It is not her that you should feel for.

you can wish the media were different all you like – i often do. i bet that there are some others that wished SHE were different though.

30 Sadie { 07.09.10 at 6:03 pm }

I think you just have to not listen to the rumours and the gossip. IT’S NONE OF OUR BUSINESS! Last year was the same. Come on, let’s not listen to it.

31 mia { 07.15.10 at 11:29 pm }

i don’t care about stuff like that. it throws people off on what’s happening in the competition.

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