Pete and Manu’s explosive emails to ex-MKR villains
Exclusive: They were the My Kitchen Rules villains "excused from the table" by judge Manu Feildel.
Now, two years on, after their TV gag order has been lifted, former contestants Sonya Mefaddi and Hadil Faiza say the failing TV show deserves what it gets with poor ratings after it "ruined our lives" and took an emotional toll on their families, reputation and mental health.
In an emotional interview with News Corp, Mefaddi said she would never do reality TV again after being unfairly mistreated and painted in a negative light.
The Jordanian duo, who have not kept in touch but know each other through family, were painted as villains from the beginning.
Mefaddi was seen on TV calling other contestants "disrespectful a**holes" during the show's ninth season. Hadil was seen saying she would "come for them".
"It wasn't how it happened and appeared on national TV," Mefaddi, 37, of Sydney, said, adding Feildel excused the duo "from the table for the night" - not indefinitely - and contestants were placed into lockdown for two days before Channel 7 axed them.
"I feel completely ripped off.
"I signed up to be part of a cooking show and what I was a part of was just a show where producers were heartless. They don't care about people's feelings as long as they have drama and another series to work on and make money off.
"It took up a year to two years of my life and it wasn't worth it."
Mefaddi's comments come as MKR judge Colin Fassnidge blamed the incident for the once-unbeatable cooking show's plummeting ratings.
In an interview with The Kyle and Jackie O Show on Thursday, Fassnidge said: "I think we're getting crucified for a couple of years ago, where we had a little incident where Sonya and Hadil - remember when they had the walk out - got kicked off the show and the drama went through the roof. A lot of people got turned off since then … We're suffering from the past."
MKR had just 422,000 metro viewers on Wednesday night, while Married At First Sight had an audience of 1.178 million.
"It serves them right," Mefaddi said. "The cause of MKR ratings dropping is simply the effect of the producers wrong doings."
Mefaddi exclusively revealed to News Corp the emails she received from MKR judges Feildel and Pete Evans after being axed from the show.
"Pete and I were also upset in the way you guys left the show," Feildel's email read.
"We don't know the real facts but we had to follow the orders of Channel 7's executive decision. The sad thing is we do believe you could have won this competition."
Evans' read: "I only have good memories of you being a part of the competition and thanks for all the delicious good and for teaching me about Jordanian food that you are so proud of. Keep shining brightly!!"
Mefaddi still receives messages of support online, which say viewers were disgusted with how they were treated and, as a result, they do not watch the show anymore.
Since appearing on MKR, Mefaddi has celebrated the 10th anniversary of her business, Fashion Palette, and launched her swimwear label, Sonya Swim.
She even cautioned current MKR contestant and friend Romel Kouyan about going on the show.
"I said 'do it for the experience but if a producer tells you to do something do the opposite'," she said. "They'd walk up, whisper and manipulate her (Faiza). They would feed her lines."
Faiza, 32, echoed Mefaddi's negative experience, saying she was diagnosed with severe PTSD, depression and anxiety following the pair being axed.
The mother-of-two, who now lives in Cairns, said she could not leave the house after the spat between contestants aired, and she and her children received death threats.
Faiza now works in the disability sector after not being able to work following her TV appearance.
"It was gut wrenching," she said. "It ruined our lives.
"It really sent me into a very, very dark place for a very long time, which affected me being a parent.
"I would never do it again and I wouldn't recommend it.
"I was portrayed very different to how I am - I'm a tomboy, I'm outdoorsy, I'm ex-military, I'm into foraging. It depicted me as this horrible materialistic person, which I hate."
The only positive to come out of Faiza appearing on MKR was her flourishing friendships with former contestants Jess Alvial, Emma Byron and Alicia Wu.