MasterChef fans question why Ben Ungermann wasn’t edited out
News that MasterChef contestant Ben Ungermann has been charged with two counts of sexual assault against a 16-year-old has fans questioning why he was not edited out of the show.
Ungermann, 36, was arrested by police during filming of the show in March and while a statement was issued by Channel 10 addressing that he would be leaving the show, neither the network nor production company Endemol Shine would address questions about how existing footage would be handled.
MasterChef premiered April 13 and during that time Ungermann has featured prominently.
Ungermann's lawyer Adam Houda said his client "vehemently denied" the charges against him, labelling them a "complete fabrication".
Sydney social psychologist Dr Karen Phillip said while Ungermann is innocent until proven guilty, viewers with a history of sexual abuse would be triggered by the news of his arrest and due to this, Channel 10 should have edited him out.
"Even if it's not proven there is still the allegation (of sexual assault) and the fact is that will probably bring back a lot of memories and fears of the trauma that sexual assault victims may have experienced previously," she told Confidential.
"It will be back right in front of them.
"That's a production decision and we know they're just going to go with the bottom line but it's unethical for them to continue to show him."
These concerns were echoed on social media.
"If you missed the news on #masterchefau's Ben Ungermann's arrest, it was for sexual assault of a 16 year old … They should have edited him out more," one user wrote.
"Ben was arrested for alleged sexual offences against a 16 year old?? You're kidding why wasn't he edited fully off the show?" wrote another.
Ungermann also continued to post MasterChef material to his personal Instagram account, which has 96,000 followers, however Confidential understands this was an independent decision.
Channel 10 declined to comment on editing practices.
Ungermann is due in Melbourne Magistrates' Court June 25.
*For 24-hour sexual violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636.
Originally published as MasterChef fans question why Ben Ungermann wasn't edited out