On Sunday, TV 2 was able to report that a number of participants in the popular reality series “Ex on the Beach” and “Paradise Hotel” were convicted even before filming.
In a selection of five seasons “Paradise Hotel” and two seasons “Ex on the Beach”, 16 of the participants were convicted before the TV appearance. There may also be judges TV 2 is not familiar with.
Discovery Network’s communications director Hanne McBride, who distributes “Ex on the Beach,” said at the same time that two out of eight judges were unfamiliar with their popular reality show.
Two unknown judges
She says it is unfortunate, and that Discovery experiences the participants’ lack of transparency about the verdicts as a major breach of trust. At the same time, she points out that this would have been avoided if they had had the opportunity to request a police certificate from the participants, which the law does not allow for today.
– It would obviously have been much easier to make an overall assessment if we had the opportunity to obtain a certificate of good conduct also for potential TV participants, says McBride.
She receives support from communications consultant Thomas Horni in the Nordic Entertainment Group (NENT), which broadcasts «Paradise Hotel».
“However, we use large resources to avoid such situations, and should we find out that a current candidate has previously been convicted, the person loses the opportunity to participate,” he writes in an e-mail to TV 2.
TV 2 has nevertheless found several verdicts against “Paradise Hotel” participants from before the recording. Horni has not wanted to comment on TV 2’s findings, other than that they are constantly working to improve their casting routines.
He also states that “the participants are asked specific questions if they have previous convictions and must sign a contract stating that they do not withhold significant information”. Participants are also asked specific questions about violence and drugs, according to Horni.
Neither Horni nor McBride will go into detail on what they are looking for in the search for participants for their programs.
– We are generally quite concerned that people are able to convey, also verbally, what they feel and experience. But we do not usually go into detail on what we are looking for, precisely to ensure that people do not follow some recipe for what they think we are looking for, says McBride.
Body and sex
TV 2 has nevertheless obtained a questionnaire that the participants in one season of “Ex on the Beach” had to fill in as part of the casting process.
There, the participants are asked about everything from events in their upbringing, to when they were last happy.
Many of the questions are naturally about ex-girlfriends, as the program involves placing the participants in a villa and then submitting their ex-girlfriends.
Furthermore, there are several questions of a sexual nature. Here are some of the questions:
- Are you happy with your own body?
- Do you get a lot of attention from the opposite sex?
- What turns you on sexually with one of the opposite sex?
- Have you ever had sex with someone of the same sex?
- How many sex partners have you had?
- What is your attitude to one night stands?
- How often do you have one night stands / sex with people you are not in a relationship with?
- Tell us about your best ONS (one night stand) and worst ONS. Who was it with, when and where?
In total, the participants are asked eight questions about the body and sexuality. They also get two questions that have to do with crime:
- Have you ever beaten someone in anger or self-defense? If so, tell whom and when?
- Are you on the police register? If so, what was the offense and when was it?
– Why are there eight questions about the body and sex, but only one about violence and one about criminal history?
– This form is one of several tools we have to find out things that are essential for our assessments of whether they are suitable for being on screen, says McBride.
Does not see need
In total, McBride says that participants are asked about their criminal history up to five times, both orally and in writing, during the casting process.
– This is a trust-based process, and the lack of opportunity to obtain a certificate of good conduct has been problematized by an entire TV industry for many years. We depend on those who want to enter into a collaboration and be on screen with us, are open and honest and respond sincerely, she says.
Although both McBride and Horni could imagine a legal opportunity to obtain a police certificate for potential reality participants, the answer from the Ministry of Culture is still “no”.
State Secretary Gunhild Berge Stang (V) emphasizes in an e-mail that “broadcasters and providers of audiovisual ordering services must demand that employees with work tasks that involve regular contact with minors must present a police certificate when offering a position or contract”.
«In principle, the Ministry does not see the need to investigate possible new rules that production companies must require a police certificate beyond this “, she writes.
McBride is not surprised by the answer.
– I also see that it would have been a burden on a system if it had been opened for it, but it is now a tool we would like to have, she says.