Suzi Taylor: The making of a fallen ‘star’
Back in 2015 when it emerged Nine had cast a former Penthouse model, Suzi Taylor, on its hit TV show The Block, the TV broadcaster had no issue defending the decision. What did Nine make of Taylor dropping her pants for Penthouse magazine.
"Suzi was a bikini model at the time, so it wasn't a big stretch to forget the bikini for a shoot. It was something she did a quarter of a century ago," said executive producer Adrian Kress.
And months later, when Taylor had licence problems, Nine had no trouble putting its hand in its pocket to pay for a chauffeur driven car to transport Taylor to and from The Block shoots though refused to comment to the media about the extraordinary arrangement.
Then in September 2015 when it emerged Taylor was having a relationship with a producer from the show, Tim Wise, Nine was unapologetic: "There is no law against that," a spokesman for Nine said. "They met on the job."
And when Taylor was photographed fondling herself while dancing topless on a pleasure cruiser in November 2015, collapsing on the set of The Block and entering rehab that same week, a Nine source merely, stated reports at the time, put it down to "exhaustion".
Months later when Taylor told media she had become romantically involved with Nine entertainment reporter Richard Wilkins - who she would wait for at his house dressed only in a G string, or so she claimed - Nine and Wilkins denied the attachment, although photos of the pair out together appeared to contradict their denial.
And so now to the present day where we find Taylor languishing in a Queensland jail on remand, accused of breaching a Supreme Court bail order concerning her arrest in October 2019 on charges of detaining, bashing and attempting to extort money from a 33-year-old man she met on a dating website, this column has gone back to Nine to put three questions.
Number one: Does Nine feel it contributed to the problems of Suzi Taylor?
Number two: Does Nine now concede it may have breached a duty of care to Taylor and its viewers in casting Taylor on The Block in 2015?
Number three: Does Nine feel Taylor's association with The Block tarnished or enhanced the brand?
Yesterday Nine failed to address these questions but offered: "Suzi was on the block five years ago and has always indicated it was an experience she enjoyed. We gave her all the support she needed during and after the show."
Nine has copped a lot of public flak in recent years for recruiting and making national TV stars of some genuinely troubled and questionable types on its reality programs (particularly Married At First Sight) in a cheap bid to boost ratings.
Yet it remains unapologetic about deceiving its audiences. So it falls to the law and the judicial system to expose the "stars".
Buxom, dark-haired Taylor, 49, faced a Brisbane court last year after allegedly meeting a 33-year-old man on a dating app and arranging to meet him at her apartment for a drink last year.
At the meeting in October 2019 police allege that after kissing the man on a bed, Taylor took off her top and demanded $500 from the man to "go … further".
"This is what I do for a living and my time is my money," she is alleged to have told the man who told her he had no cash on him, the court heard.
Police allege Taylor then summoned her housemate, co-accused Ali Ebrahimi, who allegedly arrived and helped Taylor tie up the man with a phone charger.
The Nine star and her housemate are then alleged to have beat the man while demanding he hand over his PIN so she could pay Rebels gang members and bikies, she is claimed to have said she was affiliated with. Taylor later denied having any affiliation to bikies.
After being accused of breaching bail conditions on dozens of occasions, the court on June 18 ordered Taylor be locked up on remand after police prosecutors successfully argued Taylor's excuse that she missed a bail meeting due to ill health conflicted with her advertising her services online as an escort at the same time.
The allegations come after five years of bizarre incidents involving Taylor since she found fame on The Block and collected $349,000 with renovation partner Yvonne Cosier.
This Wednesday, Taylor - who in May 2019 was also implicated in a lost weekend involving rugby league player Greg Inglis - will again face court, leaving the fallout of Nine's star-making obsession to play out in the judicial system.
Originally published as Suzi Taylor: The making of a fallen 'star'