Within the past week, some serious questions have been raised about what Married at First Sight producers do to protect the participants from potentially dangerous situations. The controversy really came about after season two star Jessica Castro obtained a restraining order against husband Ryan De Nino after he allegedly made death threats toward her and her family, but there are also concerns about whether the men were ever drug or STD tested. The three latest wives even reached out to famed lawyer Gloria Allred via Twitter for help.
Now, the experts responsible for matches are speaking out in defense of the show.
“What is clear is that with success comes conspiracy theory, gossip, and rumor, even from so-called ‘insiders,'” sexologist Dr. Logan Levkoff said in an extended Twitter post. “Our process is legitimate and rigorous with psych evaluations, background checks, questionnaires, interviews, and a multitude of assessments of different varieties. I feel terribly that any of you have been led to think otherwise.”
She said marriage isn’t easy and there is no guarantee that any of their matches will work out. She also said she’s disappointed by the new reports because she believes they “undermine the emotional and physical work of so many people involved, our participants included.”
“That being said, I understand that some of our participants may be unhappy with how things transpired for them. But all of us involved entered into MAFS with the best of intentions and with a hope and a belief that we were a part of something special,” she said. “I hope that all of our participants (season one and two) have been transformed by their participation and have learned lifelong lessons. And of course, I wish everyone nothing but the best.”
Psychologist Dr. Joseph Cilona took a similar stance, saying “not-so-nice issues like these allegations” are side-effects of “success and a large viewership.” He also advised fans not to believe everything on the Internet.
“While it may be captivating to read anonymous and unverified profiles on social media and message boards, there can be no assumption of fact,” he said, adding to be wary of the words “allegedly” and “insiders.”
However, it isn’t alleged and it comes direct from the source that Jessica did get an order of protection against the man she was set up with on the show. What’s more, according to a formal Family Court petition, Ryan threatened her life by saying: “I will break you into f*cking pieces… I will break your dad into pieces. I will make your whole family disappear — and your f*cking dog-a** sister’s boyfriend.”
Even worse, during the reunion show, the petition says Ryan was recorded saying, “She’s f*cking dead. When I get back to Brooklyn, she’s f*cking dead, this girl.”
Despite all of that, Dr. Cilona said he is very proud of Married at First Sight. He added, “We work tremendously hard to ensure that authenticity, and will continue to do so.”
The first part of the Married at First Sight six-month reunion show airs on A&E tonight at 9/8c.