reality tv

In 2018, MKR was embroiled in a bullying scandal. Now the show is struggling to survive.


In a tight reality TV race against Channel 9’s Married at First Sight and Channel 10’s Survivor, My Kitchen Rules is losing out.

Channel 7’s annual cooking show is now in its 11th season, however, it looks like it’s running out of steam.

A week in, their Tuesday night episode only drew in 402,000 metro viewers. A similar episode from 2017 attracted 789,000 viewers. In comparison, Married at Sight pulled in 1,109,000 views and Australian Survivor: All Stars, 612,000.

Speaking to KIIS FM’s Kyle and Jackie O, judge Colin Fassnidge is blaming a 2018 scandal in which MKR contestants Sonya Mefaddi and Hadil Faiza were “excused” from the show after bullying claims were made.

Watch the moment Sonya and Hadil get kicked off of My Kitchen Rules. Post continues below.

Video by Channel 7

“I think we’re getting crucified for a little incident a couple of years ago with Sonya and Hadil – remember they got kicked out of the show?” he said.

“And the drama went through the roof and a lot of people got turned off. About two years ago I really did not like what we were doing. But this one, I stand behind.”


The scandal in question saw the pair extensively criticise their fellow contestants at the dinner table. One incident saw Hadil refer to Sydney woman, Emma, as “a blowfish,” while further insulting her lips.

Their behaviour eventually made them the first couple in MKR’s history to be walked off the show.

However, the celebrity cook pleaded with fans to give the show a second chance.

“People say there’s too much drama but they’ll go and watch Botoxed At First Sight or whatever it’s called.

“I’m a very passionate guy and I spent five months of my life making this show … I really believe it’s a great show.”


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He’s also blamed “poor programming” for the show’s lacklustre performance this season.

“Mate, this year was the best one we’ve done but not everyone is watching it at the moment ’cause we’ve got some people at Channel Seven who don’t know how to program a show. But what do I know? I’m only a cook,” he said, speaking to the host of 2GB’s Afternoon Show, Chris Smith.

“A lot of work went into this and then some stupid decisions were made to go up against the tennis and Married, and we should’ve started a week early,” he continued.

“The flack we’re getting at the moment is not really warranted because I think this is totally different to the other MKRs we’ve done. Tune in, it’s not too late.”

So, what exactly happened in 2018 when Sonya and Hadil went on MKR?

In two words: a lot.

The best friends were known for starting fights during the show’s dinner parties.

One particularly controversial spat occurred when Hadil commented on another contestant’s lips, which led to MKR judge Manu Feildel “excusing” them from the table.

“Blowfish… is the blowfish asking for air? I’ve got a really good doctor you could go to that can fix your ugly face,” said Hadil to another contestant, Emma. “We look natural, you’ve gone wrong.”


She retaliated, calling her “Bubba Gump”.

Image: Instagram.

An insider also told that the pair were also involved in an off-air "physical altercation". This was later confirmed by Channel 7.

“Sonya and Hadil were walking past and they heard a comment through the door. They were very upset by that comment and knocked on the door.”

They then got involved in the altercation when Italian brothers Josh and Nic opened the door.


“It was not a good scene.”

For the show, the big drama also drew in big numbers. At their peak, the show would reach a metro audience of 1.93 million viewers nationwide.

At the time, judge Manu told TV Week the friends had the potential to win the competition if it wasn't for their outbursts. He also called the drama "his only regret".

"I wish everyone would have acted like adults, responsible adults, and just got on with the competition."

"I don't want to be involved in their story."


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A post shared by Manu Feildel (@manufeildelofficial) on


While the pair apologised for their actions, they both claimed that there was a lot of context viewers weren't privy to.

“During my time filming I was called a 'dumb c**t' and an 'ugly fat b**h', those words struck a chord with me and really hurt which clearly showed," said Sonya in an emotional Instagram post.

"It’s been hard to apologise for that reason because it was a two-way argument, with name-calling started by others. Did I handle that moment the best? No. The words I said were out of line and don’t reflect my values or who I’ve grown up to be as a person and I am personally truly sorry.”

In a separate Instagram post, Hadil apologised and touched on the bullying and backlash she received from viewers.

“My heart is broken. The person shown on TV is not representative of the person I am and the person I strive to be. I love this country with a passion and am so sorry to have disappointed so many of you,” she wrote.

“The cyberbullying and personal attacks on me have really taken a toll. I would like to step back and focus on my family and my two beautiful sons who deserve a happy mother.”

What are Sonya and Hadil doing now?

While Sonya still maintains an active Instagram presence (@sonyamefaddi) it seems like Hadil does not.

According to Sonya's Instagram bio, she's the founder and Creative Director of two brands - Sonya Swim and Fashion Palette, an international runway platform for Australian labels.


Do you watch MKR? What are your thoughts on this season? Tell us in a comment below.

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