A Melbourne-based gay Muslim man was dropped from the dating show Married at First Sight (MAFS) Australia earlier this month because its "relationship experts" could not find him a match.
Wil (Walid) Karroum, a 40-year-old actor, was rejected by email on Sept. 4, just days before the show's seventh season was meant to start filming. After being asked to "be patient" for five months, Karroum believes he was being "played as a fool."
The Nine Network reality show introduces couples who have been matched by experts - without individuals knowing of their future partner, a blind-wedding so to speak - and follows them on their journey as a married couple.
Karroum told Daily Mail Australia "I understand rejection is a part of life, but I feel like I've been played as a fool and had a carrot dangled in front of me." While waiting to hear back from the show's producers, the actor canceled his move to the Gold Coast as well as a vacation to the United States in case they had contacted him while he was away.
As a candidate, Karroum had to complete the arduous process of filling out multiple applications, conducting a phone and Skype interview, then finally meeting face-to-face with the show's executive producer, Tara McWilliams, along with three other executives and a cameraman.
According to him, their questions were "very intrusive" and "severely personal." They included things such as whether he would rather join the girls' or boys' night - if he was accepted in the show - moving on to topics like what his preferred sexual position is. They then asked him if he would "be afraid of the backlash from both the Muslim and Lebanese communities across Australia?"
The actor was informed that over 1,000 gay people had applied this year, which is why he was confused as to how the show's experts couldn't find him a match. Bothered by all that went down, he exclaimed "I foolishly believed the process and I genuinely want to find love. I'm a gay Muslim man and I get no support from my family, I need all the help I can get."
In his opinion, Karroum's chance at finding love was actually taken away from him, because the producers wanted to cast more headline-worthy suitors. This was brought on after he saw an article headline stating that Bronson Norrish's - a season six participant - ex-girlfriend, Vanessa Romito, was accepted to be part of MAFS' upcoming season.
However, according to a Nine Network spokesperson, "There weren't a huge number of gay applicants, but we interviewed quite a few individuals from around Australia. Unfortunately, we didn't feel there was a good enough match. We didn't want to include a gay couple just for the sake of appearances."
In fact, the show has only ever featured one same-sex couple since its first season in 2015. The season three couple, Craig Roach and Andy Ankers, did not stay together. Roach ended up criticizing the show on social media, calling it "inhumane" and "downright torture," claiming the wedding left him with post-traumatic stress.