Can we judge Married At First Sight’s Telv for a crime he committed at 18?

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Married at First Sight‘s Telv was once charged with assault.

We know this, now, because it was brandished across one of the country’s biggest news outlets as their top story on Friday.

So far, this is what they have:

In 2002, when a now 33-year-old Telv Williams was 18, he pleaded guilty to assaulting a man during a violent street brawl in Portland, Victoria. He was charged with five offences, including punching and kicking. A number of people were involved in the fight.

According to The Daily Mail, the victim was knocked to the ground by a group and was punched and kicked by Williams and others. He received a 12-month good behaviour bond and a $200 fine.

Today, Telv is a single father-of-two. In his time on the reality TV show, he has spoken extensively of what he has deemed a turbulent upbringing; one where his mother was an alcoholic and where domestic violence was prevalent.

The surfacing of these news stories on Friday serve a very particular kind of purpose: To imply Telv is somehow not as “good” as his portrayal on the show would have you believe, to imply his love for and relationship with Sarah-Roza may be equally and subsequently flawed and to imply perhaps we’ve been strung along the whole time on false pretences.

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Clare and Jessie Stephens examine the BEST moment from Sarah and Telv’s relationship to date. Post continues after audio.

But with those implications comes another assumption: That a man is only as good as his past allows. And to think like that would offer only a narrow window for any of us to squeeze through in order to be considered truly “good”.

Somewhere across the country in the hallowed halls of Parliament sits our new, shiny, deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack.

Some 30 years ago, when McCormack was the editor of Wagga Wagga’s Daily Advertiser, he penned a handful of abhorrent editorials about the LGBTIQ community that were offensive, short-sighted and damaging.

He has since apologised, sought counsel from the community, and worked to undo the damage he did long ago.

“I have grown and learnt not only to tolerate but to accept all people, regardless of their sexual orientation, or any other trait or feature which makes each of us different and unique,” he said in a statement in August, in the midst of the same-sex marriage debate. For the record, he voted in favour of marriage equality last year.

Both Michael McCormack and Telv Williams did things they no doubt regret long ago.

But the incessant chase for "gotcha" stories, particularly in the case of reality TV stars, is tiring and predictable. It hinges on the assumption none of us have done things we regret, been people we don't like and had relationships that didn't work.

It hinges on the assumption the rest of us are perfect.

What we don't say often enough is that we can support, and even love, people today without condoning the things they did years ago.

The world is full of nuance and so are its people.

Telv messed up once. He was violent, probably drunk and definitely inflicted damage. To imply his character today must somehow be lesser because of it is nonsensical as it defies the one thing we all know to be true:

Things, people, time, the world? They all change.

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