MAFS UK: Channel 4 slams Nathanial’s claim of being ‘manipulated’ into relationship with trans bride Ella
Channel 4 have refuted claims by Married At First Sight UK star Nathanial Valentino, after the pansexual groom called the E4 series a “complete sham” and alleged he was “manipulated” into marrying transgender bride Ella Morgan.
Valentino, 36, has claimed that he initially rejected Ella Morgan – who recently made history as Married At First Sight’s first ever trans cast member – as a partner because he wanted to date someone with “masculine energy”.
Valentino told The Mirror that producers “encouraged” him to change his mind so as not to sabotage Morgan’s storyline and that the production team provoked conflict behind the scenes, and showed little interest in supporting cast members to find romantic relationships.
However, Channel 4 rebutted his claims, telling PinkNews Nathanial “entered this process voluntarily with full and informed consent”.
A Channel 4 spokesperson said that, in this instance, Nathanial “was actually provided with more information than we would ordinarily share with cast members” in the case of Morgan.
In the Mirror interview, Valentino also said: “The way some were treated on the show became very dark. Pretty much from the start it was a complete sham.
“I told producers that I wanted to marry a man, or a woman with a very masculine energy, because that’s normally who I go for,” he continued. “Then I was told they matched me with a lovely girl who was transgender.
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“My first reaction was ‘no’ because I felt that just wasn’t me, and I told them so. But they encouraged me to think about it, saying if I didn’t take part it would ruin this girl’s story.”
Channel 4 have denied Valentino’s claim that he requested a partner with ‘masculine energy’ and initially rejected Morgan, telling PinkNews: “This is untrue.”
Married at First Sight sees couples being matched up ahead of their wedding ceremony, where they meet each other for the first time. After tying the knot, they get to know each other during their honeymoons before deciding whether they’ll stay together, switch to a different bride or groom from the show, or go home single.
The C4 spokesperson said: “Nathanial openly describes his sexuality and preferences on the show, at multiple points, as pansexual. After being initially notified of his bride’s gender identity, he took some time to decide and chose to continue in the process voluntarily and marry his bride.
“He entered the process with more information than we would ordinarily disclose, and did so with full and informed consent.
“Whilst we cannot go into specifics, all contributors provide their detailed dating preferences and what they’re looking for, as well as information on past relationships and experiences. The methodology our experts then use is underpinned by in-depth profiling and research to discover everything they need to know in order to match couples for compatibility.
“Duty of care to all contributors is of paramount importance and MAFS UK takes its commitment to matching couples correctly very seriously and matchmaking is undertaken by a panel of experts.”
Valentino also claimed cast members were fed pre-scripted lines by a team which he nicknamed “the little b*****s and witches”, and that they were confined to their rooms for 22 hours a day.
The Manchester-born events manager stated he eventually agreed to marry Morgan, with his only “deal-breakers” being that he didn’t want someone who smoked or worked in the sex industry, only to learn before their honeymoon that his new bride had previously worked as a stripper.
Valentino then left the show early, following an on-screen argument with Morgan about her past sex work.
“That’s why I was angry when I learned, before we went on honeymoon, Ella worked as a stripper,” he continued. “But when I asked to speak to my welfare person, I was told it wasn’t a good time. Another occasion, a producer told me I wouldn’t be asked about my family. Not long after, Ella asked me why she was being encouraged to ask me about my family.
“That was the kind of manipulation that went on,” he said. “[The producers] were like goblins whispering in people’s ears. I’d be having a great conversation with Ella, she would be pulled away and, five minutes later, we’d have an argument about the exact same thing.”
A Channel 4 Spokesperson said: “The matching process entails a detailed interrogation of every participant’s preferences and none of these would be overlooked when deciding who to pair them with. The welfare of all contributors on Married at First Sight UK is our top priority and we ensure that appropriate support is available to contributors at all times before, during and after filming – including 24/7 access to a member of the welfare team or psych support.
“The show is an unscripted reality series which follows real events as they naturally unfold, and is in no way scripted.”
Valentino’s claims come after Morgan revealed that she’s “taken a step back” from social media due to transphobic abuse being directed at her and her family.
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