The meal kit provider is the first major advertiser to speak out against the TVNZ reality show following revelations a contestant had faced suffocation charges. Stewart Sowman-Lund reports.
My Food Bag has pulled all advertising from TVNZ’s controversial dating reality show FBOY Island, following backlash over the casting of one of its contestants.
Wayde Moore was cut from the series, which airs on TVNZ+, after it was revealed he had faced suffocation charges related to a sexual encounter last year. Moore appeared in court after he invited an intoxicated woman home in the hopes of having sex with her and then covered her mouth when she attempted to shout for help.
While he was found not guilty, domestic violence advocates raised serious concerns about Moore’s involvement with the show and he was subsequently edited out. However, Judge Sainsbury noted in his ruling that Moore’s goal was “deeply inappropriate and disrespectful”.
In a statement provided to The Spinoff, a My Food Bag spokesperson confirmed it had “blacklisted” FBOY Island from all its advertising campaigns. “[My Food Bag] adverts won’t run during the show again,” the spokesperson added.
My Food Bag is the first advertiser to publicly speak out against the show.
The decision by My Food Bag follows a petition launched last week by Project Gender that called for TVNZ to dump FBOY Island from its network entirely. The petition, which now has close to 7,000 signatories, claimed the programme “normalises and champions predatory and dangerous sexual behaviour that harms people, particularly young people” and should not be aired.
“Your decision, as our state broadcaster, to air… a reality TV show called FBOY Island NZ is not only disappointing, it is dangerous,” the petition reads. “Not to put too fine a point on it, you’re essentially gamifying predatory sexual behaviour.”
The woman at the centre of the allegations against Moore initially said TVNZ’s decision to air the show “silences victims”, though welcomed the news he had been edited out.
Angela Meyer from Project Gender has met with TVNZ executives since the petition went live to reiterate this message. “I was really impressed with how keen they were to hear about our research,” Meyer told The Spinoff. “They were really open to the kind of feminist critique we’d given FBOY Island and they’ve invited us to actually run some wānanga and work with them around creating a gender lens across the programming, which is an amazing outcome.”
Two episodes of FBOY Island have aired so far and there is no suggestion yet the remainder of the series will be pulled.
Based on an American format, FBOY Island features both self-proclaimed “nice guys” and “f boys” vying for the attention of three women. The women get to know the men and attempt to decipher their intentions, eliminating contestants along the way with a $100,000 prize on the line.
A TVNZ spokesperson told The Spinoff: “TVNZ has a broad range of content across our linear and digital platforms for our commercial partners to choose from. In the event that an advertiser wishes to be removed from a particular piece of content, we facilitate that request.”
Additional reporting by Alex Casey