TelevisionMade possible by

Television: Why the My Kitchen Rules Porn Story Wasn’t a Story at All

An exposé of a perfectly legal former job exposed the hypocrisy with which we treat both reality TV stars and women, says Alex Casey

Over the weekend Stuff revealed that Katrina from My Kitchen Rules NZ was once paid to pose in pornographic photos. As @johubris noted on Twitter, this really wasn’t a news story:

Screenshot 2015-11-10 at 1.49.02 PM

TVNZ publicists were allegedly left “scrambling” and “red-faced”, not unlike a stressed out MKRNZ contestant who has screwed up their omelette – an act far more troubling in my eyes. I bloody love and respect My Kitchen Rules NZ – and have dozens of sparsely read recaps to prove it – but what I love and respect even more is a woman’s right to do whatever the hell kind of job she feels like.

With that in mind, I have to score this news story a zero. A zero with a disapproving Gareth face.

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 10.40.39 pm

The opening sentence explained that “a contestant styled as a sophisticated snob from a plush Auckland suburb has posed in hundreds of hardcore pornographic photos.” Straight away, a few problems. The first is that Dunlop has been styled into a sophisticated snob – that’s a production decision, not hers. Not only that, but did you know – a woman can be a sophisticated snob AND naked in a picture?!

Calling Neighbourhood Watch in all plush Auckland suburbs – there are plush rogue boobs on the loose!! (and when I say on the loose, I mean quietly tucked away in a corner of the internet during the mid-2000s). It’s 2015 and the naked female body is still being treated as dirty, lower class, certainly not something you’d ever find in plush Remuera. Everyone knows you’ve got to get the Outer Link to at least Mt Albert before you can get your boobs out.

Next, Katrina’s old job has now been lumped in with 2015’s most circulated list: our nation’s reality TV participant screening gaffes. They are, in order of magnitude from who the hell cares? to actually quite full on: Dani Robinson’s drink driving charge, the fraudulent past of Danielle Le Gallais and Shae Brider’s manslaughter conviction.

To use some MKR terminology, Katrina’s pictures don’t sit with the rest of the plate. The balance of flavour is way off. There’s a big difference between making someone not be alive anymore, say, and performing a legal service, in private, for money. She took the job because she had just bought a house and was broke, by the way. Drop everything: the headline should have actually read: “Woman BUYS HOUSE in AUCKLAND at AGE 20; Scientists Nationwide Left Puzzled.”

“It was six or seven years ago… I haven’t done anything illegal and it was a one-off,” Dunlop explained, completely rationally. Fine, leave it there. We definitely don’t need a weirdly transphobic, homophobic man to weigh in here. “IT’S NEGLIGENT” shouts Bob McCroskie of Family First, kneesliding into a non-existent debate, claiming that people with “dubious backgrounds” should not be allowed to star in reality TV shows.

Why do we keep inviting this absolute pooper to our party? Reality shows can often lead to a high public profile, McCroskie claims, and could draw unwanted attention to the pornographic images. Not at all like a screaming headline in a Sunday paper, amplified by McCroskie’s entirely predictable comments. Sorry Bob, not to burst your bubble – but MKRNZ stars seldom reach Parliament. They are more likely to end up in a professional kitchen… full of RUMP, BREAST and THIGH. Actually, you’re right Bob: shut the whole thing down, the filth is everywhere:

Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 3.53.15 pm

Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 2.42.07 pm

And even if a contestant did decide to run for Parliament – which is 100% an option and I would 100% elect any of them to be our Prime Minister – it still doesn’t matter if they have pornographic images in their past. The strangest thing to arise out of this lofty moral panic is a total blindness to the fact that porn is absolutely everywhere in this country – trickling right down to a consistent flow of slimy clickbait headlines on the site in question.

“Katrina told us that she regrets the shoot but was in a difficult financial situation and that it was a life lesson she has moved on from,” TVNZ stated, intentionally or not implying that Stuff and Family First were right to be so irate.

What if she hadn’t moved on though? What if (gasp!) she could be a naked lady… and a home cook? Bob McCroskie would have to quit his full-time job of being mad about young women getting the HPV vaccine. Come to think of it, that’s much more worthy of your outrage than anything Katrina might have done, to help pay off her mortgage, all those years ago.


This content, like all television coverage we do at The Spinoff, is brought you thanks to the excellent folk people at Lightbox. Do us and yourself a favour by clicking here to start a FREE 30 day trial of this truly wonderful service.

Read more from Alex Casey:

– On Boobs on Bikes

– On The Edge’s Cucumber Number

– On Chrystal Chenery

The Spinoff Longform Fund is dedicated to facilitating investigative journalism. Our focus is on supporting in-depth reporting on important New Zealand stories. Your donation will help us sustain this most resource-intensive form of journalism, ensuring that the most complex and important stories still get told.