‘Stitch up’: Block scandal explodes

 

Block contestant Jesse has unleashed on rivals Mark and Mitch, after the couple's lies were exposed during Wednesday night's episode of the hit reno show.

Jesse told news.com.au this week his friendship with the couple is done: "I have no time for people like that, who lie and manipulate you."

Let's rewind a tad. During Tuesday's episode, Mark and Mitch were shown making some damning allegations about Jesse and wife Mel's Block house during a live interview on Triple M.

The couple claimed Jesse and Mel had copied their house from the display unit at the Saint Moritz, a luxury apartment building near The Block in St Kilda.

Jesse and Mel don't hear these allegations until Wednesday's episode, when they front up to a Triple M interview themselves and the allegations are repeated live on air.

 

COPYCAT ALLEGATIONS

 

Mark and Mitch and the Saint Moritz.
Mark and Mitch and the Saint Moritz.

 

Back at Block HQ, Mark and Mitch have a Saint Moritz brochure on hand to detail the "copying" they're claiming. Take a look:

 

Saint Moritz vs. Jesse and Mel
Saint Moritz vs. Jesse and Mel

 

The Saint Moritz, like, invented floors!
The Saint Moritz, like, invented floors!

 

OK, the doors are similar.
OK, the doors are similar.

On air on Triple M, Jesse and Mel laugh off the accusations, saying it's a compliment if anyone thinks their house looks like the luxurious Saint Moritz. But off-air, Jesse directs his anger towards the show's co-creator and executive producer, Julian Cress.

Jesse says he heard from Mitch and Mark that it was Cress who started the whole copying rumour - producers interfering to drum up some drama.

Cress is waiting just outside the studio and can hear the whole conversation, storming in: "Let's do it," he tells Jesse.

"You wanted to have a barney, let's have one," says Jesse.

Jesse and The Block's executive producer butt heads.
Jesse and The Block's executive producer butt heads.

"Yeah, but let's not do it in a live radio studio," the EP advises him.

Julian insists it was Mitch and Mark who raised the allegations with him, not the other way around - and he's got proof.

 

THE SECRET TAPE

The crew show Jesse and Mel the footage in question.
The crew show Jesse and Mel the footage in question.

Later on in the episode, the crew take the extreme step of showing Jesse and Mel footage to prove Mark and Mitch were the first ones to raise the copying allegations.

In the footage, Mark and Mitch are shown driving while making a call to Julian.

"There's just something that's been on my mind … I think you need to check out the Saint Moritz," says Mitch.

"Mitch showed me a photo and I said, 'Oh I know that room,'" Mark tells the EP.

"I only raise it because I wonder if there's any legal ramifications for taking a designer's product and mimicking it," Mitch continues.

Jesse and Mel later confront Mitch, telling him they know it was he and Mitch who went to producers with the allegations. After the tense meeting, Mitch tells the crew: "I don't want to talk about it. That was very uncomfortable."

 

Mitch appears dazed after his awkward run-in with Jesse and Mel.
Mitch appears dazed after his awkward run-in with Jesse and Mel.

JESSE HITS BACK

We spoke to Jesse this week about the cheating scandal - and he didn't hold back in his feelings toward Mitch and Mark:

Were you shocked when Mitch and Mark went so public with the cheating allegations?

Look, everyone can see their true colours now - they did a very good job of disguising them for the first half of the season.

The boys came to us two weeks prior and told us: 'A producer has told us to accuse you of cheating. A producer has said we should call a body corporate to accuse you of cheating. But we feel really uncomfortable with that; we're your friends.' I don't like bullying or intimidation, so when I heard this was happening to our friends, I was very upset at the producer for putting us all in this uncomfortable position. So when we heard what the boys said on the radio, initially I was upset with the producer - I thought the producer had forced them to say it.

 

Executive Producer Julian Cress enters the studio during Jesse and Mel’s interview.
Executive Producer Julian Cress enters the studio during Jesse and Mel’s interview.

But now you know that's not the case?

The truth came out. They were the ones calling the producer, they were the ones dobbing us in. They'd just told us this massive lie. Mel was really upset. They were our closest couple on The Block, so to find out what they were really like was pretty hurtful. The friendship is over. I have no time for people like that, who lie and manipulate you.

It seemed a drastic step for the producers to show you the footage.

Typically, the producers never show you footage of what's happened, but because the boys had put the producer in it and said he was doing this or that, they did. It was the first time in 15 seasons a producer has stepped in, because the boys were telling lies about the person who created the show. They're pretty intelligent people, but the dumbest thing you could do is try to stitch up the creator of the show!

So let's clear it up - did you copy the Saint Moritz?

I said to Mel, 'We're not here to recreate the wheel - we're here to build the house that wins the most money and appeals to the most amount of buyers.' So we built our house based on half a dozen other properties which are all selling well. The only thing that's identical (to the Saint Moritz) are those beautiful custom doors they had … but everybody takes inspiration from beautiful things they've seen.

 

Jesse and Mel aren’t happy.
Jesse and Mel aren’t happy.

This is the second time this season Mitch and Mark have made some serious allegations, then wavered when challenged.

Mitch and Mark are no fools. What they do is accuse people of doing something, then reverse it so they're the victims. It's incredible to see. When the Scott Cam controversy was happening, I thought it was incredible - they were accusing someone and trying to destroy his career, while saying 'poor me.' Scott explained what he meant by 'people like you' - empty nesters, like he and his wife. Then Mitch turned around and literally said, 'I'm f**king sick of people like him.' The hypocrisy! It's disappointing that the boys don't hold themselves to the same standard by which they judge everyone else.

Do you think anyone else is 'copying' this season?

Mitch and Mark have copied the Parker Hotel in Palm Springs. Scotty said they were doing it on the show and they said 'No, we took inspiration.' So the boys are allowed to copy? I don't care; it's not cheating. But the boys are quite comfortable to copy that and call it inspiration, but when someone else takes inspiration, it's cheating.

 

The Block continues 7pm Sunday on Nine.



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