Bachelor in Paradise viewers have reacted with fury after an apparent “lesbian kiss” used by Channel Ten to tease the series turned out to be very misleading.
In a promo screened on TV in the months leading up to the show, Megan Marx (pictured) – who identifies as bisexual and is the franchise’s first openly queer contestant – explained in a voice over, “She’s absolutely gorgeous, she’s definitely my type of girl,” as clips of castmate Elora Murger played.
Megan is then shown sharing a kiss with an unidentified, long-haired brunette.
But it was revealed on last night’s episode of the reality show that the kiss was actually between Megan and hunky Canadian Bachelorette star Thomas Perras.
Fans took to social media to vent their frustration against Channel Ten for “queerbaiting” its audience with the misleading tactic.
“[Channel Ten] made it seem like they were going to deliver a same sex couple. Turns out it was Thomas. Queerbaiting at its finest,” one person wrote.
“Bisexuals such as myself love queer baiting!!! We love it so much it makes us feel so validated,” another person sarcastically raged.
Megan took to Instagram after the episode aired to tell fans she was just as disappointed as the viewers.
“I too was disappointed that my sexuality was used as leverage when truth (the fact that I’m a sexual minority at all!) is always the most respectful option,” she said.
“However I’m still grateful Bachelor In Paradise gave me a platform to be myself and pursue any relationship I wanted to – they always made it clear they supported me, and were even respectful and open in me posting this message.”
“A big apology to those who were offended, I know we can do better – we have a long way to go in Australia.”
Andre Charadia, director of advocacy group the Australian LGBTI Media Centre, told Fairfax Media that he understood the criticisms viewers were aiming at the network.
“LGBTIQ people still aren’t used to seeing themselves in the media. When that representation looks like it might happen, we get a bit excited – we want to support it with our money and our eyes,” he said.
“When that doesn’t eventuate, we feel sucked in, a bit cheated and exploited.”
so the ‘bisexual’ relationship on #BachelorInParadiseAU presented in the promos is actually just a megan and a guy with long hair. bisexuals such as myself love queer baiting!!! we love it so much it makes us feel so validated !!!!!
— evie (@yeevz_) April 16, 2018
Here's the part of the promo where Channel 10 deliberately cut together Megan talking about Elora with her kiss w/ a long-haired brunette, to make it seem like they were going to deliver a same sex couple. Turns out it was Thomas. Queerbaiting at its finest. #BachelorInParadise pic.twitter.com/ywKqzC0YUb
— Jenna Guillaume (@JennaGuillaume) April 17, 2018
OMG MEGAN IS KISSING A WOMAN!
…A BEARDED WOMAN!?
Oh no wait, that’s right Channel 10 just queer-baited us for 2 months.
— Mark (@markp_) April 17, 2018
Lol way to set up the sneak peak ads to look like Megan kissed Elora.. @channelten that’s pretty shitty to advertise queerbaiting it would have been nicer if there was actually some same sex couples #BachelorInParadiseAU
— Krystal Birch (@birchyyk) April 17, 2018
Omg so when we all though Megan was with Elora in the water IT WAS THOMAS?!?! #BachelorInParadiseAU
— annelise is going to 5 REP shows ✨✨✨ (@islandbreezeee) April 17, 2018
You guys! Maybe all those times we thought Megan was kissing Elora on the promos, she was actually kissing this guy with his hair out?? #BachelorinParadiseAU
— Dash Jayasuriya (@gameonmoll) April 16, 2018
— flossy (@dentitexx) April 17, 2018
— amy✨ (@aryagendry) April 17, 2018
— jaimee (@jaimsandwich) April 17, 2018
There's been a lot of harangue about the queer baiting that was involved in the promotion of the show. I too was disappointed that my sexuality was used as leverage when truth (the fact that I'm a sexual minority at all!) is always the most respectful option. However I'm still grateful @bachelorinparadiseau gave me a platform to be myself and pursue any relationship I wanted to – they always made it clear they supported me, and were even respectful and open in me posting this message. A big apology to those who were offended, I know we can do better – we have a long way to go in Australia🌹 P.s Thank you @natalierolt for the outfit and @helendowsleylashes for always helping me tame my wild AF hair!