In July last year, Bachelor star Jen Hawke said she got what she calls a “cheeky” phone call from producers of Warner Brothers, the team behind the wildly successful Bachelor franchise in Australia.
The producer had some men who were interested in her, she said. Their names were Blake and Stu and they were filming their own season of the Bachelorette.
“The boys must have seen a poster of us girls [in the mansion] or something because [Blake] said to a producer, ‘I want her’,” she tells Mamamia.
“So the next thing I know, the producers are giving me a cheeky phone call about it. I spoke to [Blake] and Stu, but I wasn’t allowed to know either of their real names, because it was when they were in the top four. From there, Blake and I started chatting.”
Stu, of course, was Stu Laundy – the man who just a week after having date-like conversations “over the phone” with Hawke, was telling Sophie Monk he loved her on national television.
Jen is clear on the fact she didn’t spend much time talking to Stu, and instead focused her time and attention on Blake. But of course, the fact remains that producers (Jen says) were actively encouraging the relationships of between Bachelor and Bachelorette contestants while the former were still filming their respective season.
“It was nuts, it was so stupid,” Jen told Mamamia, saying it felt something not dissimilar to a storyline on Unreal – a TV drama based on a fake reality dating show, where producers go to extreme lengths to manipulate good TV.
“Before I actually went in, I watched Unreal and I thought, surely it’s not actually like that. But once I actually lived it, I was like holy sh*t it’s actually real.”
She said it was after Blake was eliminated from the show that their relationship went from harmless chatting to something a little more serious.
“Blake contacted me a few days later when he got eliminated because he ended up staying in Sydney a little while after he left the show. He was very aggressive in his pursuit, and let it be known I was no longer single just a week into it,” she tells Mamamia.
And then, Jen says a few weeks later after Blake had packed his bags, heading home to Perth from Sydney, that “the wheels started to fall off”.
“It actually started one night – I think it was the night after I got evicted – and I was at a party and [former Bachelorette contestant] Courtney Dober was actually there and I did an interview with him. It was all streamed live on Instagram, so Blake was watching, and he said I was flirting.
“He basically lost it from there.”
The two broke up. It wasn’t exactly clean, but it was about to get a whole lot messier.
“When his season of The Bachelorette started airing, I posted something on Facebook, something along the lines of, ‘So happy to be watching Sophie Monk and getting rid of my douche ex.'”
He was furious, she says. The man who – might we remind you – is sipping cocktails on your television screen, was so angry, she alleges he began to threaten her.
“He started to threaten to release nude photos of me, and he said stuff like ‘I wonder how much the Daily Mail would like photos of Jen Hawke naked’,” she recalled.
According to NSW law, it’s a crime to threaten to release nude images, punishable by up to one year in prison.
When Mamamia approached Colman for comment about the allegations, his spokesperson refused.
A month ago, Jen dropped the charges due to insufficient evidence to prosecute Blake to the full extent of the law. However, she claims while the investigation was still ongoing, Blake had been cast in – and had in fact already filmed – Bachelor in Paradise.
Though Jen isn’t thrilled about Blake being cast while under investigation, her greater, more overriding concern centres on his prior charges: In 2015, he plead guilty to the assault of a stranger who was injured so badly, he had four staples to close his head wound and believed he would never walk again.
Last year, victim Tristan Cooper told Perth Now Colman was violent and callous in his assault:
“He picked me up by my neck and threw me down and my head’s whacked the corner of the window as I’ve gone down. I got knocked out and then I came to. When I went down he stepped over my lifeless body and then proceeded to get in a fist fight with [my companion],” the man said.
It’s that story, Jen says, that bothers her the most.
“Honestly, my biggest concern isn’t what he’s done to me, the biggest issue is we all know he has criminal charges for assaulting someone, leaving him temporarily paralysed and then jumping in a car and laughing about it. The biggest issue is … at the end of the day, you’re putting someone of such low moral fibre in front of really impressionable young kids, essentially glorifying that behaviour and that’s really, really scary.”
And so, as Blake Colman’s face streams into hundreds of thousands of homes at prime time, his personality held up by a reality TV world that doesn’t see his criminal history as relevant to their casting process, Jen will recap the whole thing on her Instagram story; a small but biting way to keep the powers at be accountable.
And does she still speak to Blake at all?
“I want nothing to do with that man.”
Mamamia reached out to Warner Bros for comment. They did not reply by time of publishing.
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