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'I barely got out alive': Davina Rankin breaks silence on MAFS backlash
By Robert Moran9 March 2018 — 11:14am
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Married At First Sight's Davina Rankin has spoken out about her controversial turn on the show, describing the experience as "traumatic" and slamming Nine for their inadequate support in the wake of abuse and death threats on social media.
"I barely got out of this whole ordeal alive," the Brisbane Instagram model and businesswoman told the ABC.
The 26-year-old became the show's villain amid a ratings-grabbing cheating scandal that saw her pursue married co-star Dean Wells behind insta-husband Ryan Gallagher's back.
The dramatic storyline saw Rankin branded a "homewrecker" by viewers on social media; the star said she also received threats of violence and death threats.
"It's just crazy because people believe so much," she told the ABC, saying she feared going out to the shops in case her detractors spotted her.
"They genuinely believe I had an affair on my husband. This was a guy I'd only known for a week – we're not boyfriend and girlfriend, let alone husband and wife."
Rankin also targeted Nine for fuelling the negative online reaction, and offering unsatisfactory professional support in the wake of the abuse.
She said she would be meeting with Queensland Labor MP Dianne Farmer to campaign against cyberbullying.
"We need something put in place that people can't feel as attacked," Rankin told the ABC.
"Especially when it's coming from magazines or the network – posting memes about them, it gives the young people the right to do that themselves.
"Set better examples. Social media posts are up there forever, people feed off the hate and it gets to a point of no return."
A spokesperson for Endemol Shine, the show's production company, refuted Rankin's claims, saying "we take our duty of care extremely seriously."
"Throughout production and broadcast of Married At First Sight, psychological support is fully available to all participants at any time, principally through an off-screen psychologist dedicated to the show, but with additional support provided as may be required.
"Following filming, our production also remains in regular contact with the participants and are diligent in reporting any concerns to our psychologist, who continues to speak to them regularly.”
Rankin, who avoided social media and interviews at the height of the scandal, first broke her silence in an emotional YouTube video posted on Sunday.
"Copping such a huge amount of hate is something that I'm not really used to and, to be honest, it really shook me," she said in the video.
"It's been a really, really hard and traumatic experience for me," she said.
Rankin's jilted partner on the reality hit, Ryan Gallagher, had previously sought to quell the frantic reaction to his ex-wife's behaviour, saying the two were "civil" following their exit from the show.
"We don't hate each other, but we haven't been in touch since, either," he told Fairfax Media last month.
Nine this week came under fire from another contestant on their mammoth hit, with Dean Wells accusing the show's producers of "forcing" him to make sexist comments during Tuesday's controversial boys' night.
The show's production company Endemol Shine denied the claims.
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Rob Moran is an Entertainment reporter for The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and Brisbane Times.
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