During host Scott Cam’s final score presentation with the contestants ahead of the finale on Sunday, Cam jokingly referred to judge Shaynna Blaze as a ‘bitch’ after delivering her scores for Hannah and Clint, and Ronnie and Georgia.
Despite delivering nothing but praise about Hannah and Clint’s front garden reveal, Blaze awarded them just 7.5 out of 10. Ronnie and Georgia also received the same score.
After the contestants all remarked about how harsh the interior designer's marking had been, Cam chimed in.
"Some high scores and some low scores. Jeez Shaynna's a bitch, isn't she?" he said.
In context, the remark came across as lighthearted, clearly meant in jest and as a way to sympathise with the contestants who were upset by their lower-than-expected scores.
It could have been said about any of the judges, regardless of gender, and come off the same way. Blaze, perhaps a little awkwardly, wasn't present to respond. However it certainly was not meant as a personal attack.
But not all The Block fans took it to be harmless or appropriate, with some expressing their disappointment in Cam.
— Polly (@PollySpeaks) October 22, 2017
— Elise Chant (@elisechant) October 22, 2017
Did Scotty just call Shayna a bitch?? Why? Because she has high standards? #theblock
— Billie Hutchison (@potatogenius) October 22, 2017
He should be ashamed and so should the show for letting it air.
— LaLaLu (@Be_Nice2all) October 22, 2017
umm so don't think you can/should be calling people a bitch on tv?? Kind of fucked up #theblockau
— Kel Van Clyne (@Kel_Van_Clyne) October 22, 2017
— Dianna Dayley (@di_namic) October 22, 2017
Mamamia reader Catherine called the comment "completely inappropriate and sexist after a shocking week for woman at Channel 9" and even more so given it was on a family show.
But while these viewers were vocal with their criticism, it didn't appear to faze the majority. The number of negative reactions has been, for the most part, low.
Context is everything. Intent is crucial. And sometimes, people joke about their colleagues, no harm intended. We're only human after all.
It might be best to save our outrage for when it really matters - like, for example, the gender pay gaps that seem to plague the TV industry.
Either way, Cam has since apologised to Blaze and any The Block viewers offended by his comments.
"I've called Shaynna today and whilst my comments were said in jest I do regret saying that because its disrespectful and not how I feel about Shaynna at all," he said in a statement given to Mamamia.
"I respect Shaynna enormously and the fact is that as judges, Shaynna, Neale & Darren have a tough job of critiquing rooms/spaces and someone will often feel hard done by if they don’t receive the scores they are hoping for."
Channel 9 added, "Scott and Shaynna are great mates and there was no hurt or insult intended by anyone however we do apologise if that was how it was interpreted".
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