A House Rules contestant wins bullying compensation case

By Chris Pash | 25 October 2019
Getty

A reality TV show contestant has won a compensation claim, linking bullying during Seven's renovation House Rules program to psychological harm.

The New South Wales Compensation Commission found that contestant Nicole Prince was employed by Seven and that she suffered a psychological/ psychiatric injury in the course of her employment.

She says she felt harassed and bullied during the filming of the show in May 2017.

"This continued throughout all of the renovations. It was not only condoned by the producer, but it was aggravated even encouraged by them," she told the commission.

"During every camera interview both myself and (contestant) Fiona (Taylor) complained on film that we were being subjected to isolation, bullying and harassment by the other teams.

"On one occasion I witnessed Fiona be physically assaulted. When I complained to Channel Seven, I was then threatened that Fiona and I would be portrayed negatively."

Prince says she has not been able to get work since the program aired. She's been told this was because she had been portrayed on the program as a bully.

"I am no longer offered interviews for jobs and work," she says.

"I feel devastated and worthless about the loss of my career and working life. After my episode aired I wanted to kill myself and I started drinking more alcohol in an attempt to self-medicate my injury.”

House Rules executive producer Evan Wilkes, in a statement to the commission: "I vaguely remember them saying they felt bullied by another team, however this was aired to the best of my recollection (I do not recall the situation). If they did have any complaints it would have come to me through our reporting channels."

Much of the legal argument was on the question of whether Prince was a worker under the Workers Compensation legislation. The commission ruled she was employed by Seven. 

The commission was told Seven paid Prince $500 a week plus a further allowance of $500 a week.

Compensation is to be determined. Prince is seeking weekly benefits, payment of medical expenses and lump sum compensation. 

NOTE: If you experiencing a personal crisis, call a counselling service such as Lifeline Australia on 131114.

 

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