Viewers are not happy with Australia’s version of Bachelor In Paradise, calling the show out for queerbaiting.
Given the general lack of LGBTQ romances on screen, queerbaiting is a concern among audiences that television producers only hint at LGBTQ relationships for shock value instead of actually depicting them.
In the case of Bachelor In Paradise, the first and only bisexual contestant on the show, Megan Marx, is shown in a early promo seemingly kissing another woman, Elora Murger, after Marx talks about how “absolutely gorgeous” she is.
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
Alas, it turned out on Tuesday night that Marx was kissing a male contestant, Thomas Perras, who happens to have long, brown hair like Murger.
And you bet people weren’t cool with the shameless promotion.
Look, @BachParadiseAU is not that important but it’s humiliating to get excited and then tricked, and feels shit to know it was done so shamelessly and deliberately to promote the show.
— Sally Rugg 🏳️🌈 (@sallyrugg) April 18, 2018
Poorly played, #BachelorInParadiseAU. And Megan has been such an articulate asset to the Bachie franchise, speaking openly and with confidence about her sexuality … No doubt opening a lot of minds.
This does a disservice to her truth too. https://t.co/CINWFdp70A
— Danielle Binks (@danielle_binks) April 17, 2018
Since first appearing in the fourth season of Australia’s version of The Bachelor, Marx has been open about her sexuality and lamented that people didn’t take it seriously.
“Being bisexual or sexually fluid, people automatically think it is a publicity stunt,” she told the Daily Telegraph last May.
“Look at some of the most famous people in the world, people like Kristen Stewart or Cara Delevingne or Amber Heard. They’ve all struggled with this where they have a relationship with a woman and people question it.”
Network Ten, which airs Bachelor In Paradise, is yet to respond to the criticism.