When Serena De Comarmond sat in front of her television to watch the first episode of Channel 7’s reality show Instant Hotel, she had a good feeling.
“We were so excited about what this was going to do for our careers,” she told Mamamia. Serena is an author, and planned on harnessing the publicity to promote her books.
The 37-year-old thought she knew exactly what she’d signed up for. From the makers of My Kitchen Rules, the premise of the show is somewhat similar. A number of teams compete to impress each other with their homes that they’ve transformed into ‘instant hotels’, and then they present a score. Serena had competed alongside her best friend Sturt.
Serena was next to her partner Ian on the couch, when, only a few moments in, she realised what had happened.
“I’d been painted as the villain,” she told Mamamia.
The episode had been heavily edited, Serena said, “to make me look like a mean and nasty and conniving individual.”
She braced herself for “a little bit of hate,” aware of how she had been portrayed. But that is not what she received.
The comments people left on the Instant Hotel Facebook page were vicious. “They were saying that I was a bitch, I was a whore, I was a slut, I was evil, I was shifty, I was a cheater…” Serena said. “The worst words you could use to insult a person.”
Despite the fact Serena had been part of a duo, the hate was overwhelmingly directed at her.
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“They called me fat, they called me a pig, they said I had a really ugly pig-like nose,” she said.
The disparaging comments on the page were not met with reason, or even with any dissension. Some comments gave way to a thread of 20-or-so replies, with images of pigs having sex with people, Miss Piggy, or pigs being killed.
When asked how those insults made her feel, Serena thought for a moment and responded, “First of all, it was shock.
“I couldn’t believe that people who didn’t know me would get so angry and so riled up about something that I said. I really felt their anger and their hatred,” she said, still in disbelief.