'Urgent' investigation into claims against MAFS star

MAFS contestant Chris Mansfield. Photo: Three
MAFS contestant Chris Mansfield. Photo: Three

The broadcaster behind Married At First Sight NZ is investigating allegations that a contestant in the new season is facing an outstanding domestic violence charge in the United States.

Stuff today reported that Chris Mansfield was arrested in Seattle, Washington in 2009 after a domestic violence complaint.

According to the report, he was taken into custody and pleaded not guilty to assault at his initial hearing before being released on bail.

He appeared at a pre-trial hearing but missed his next scheduled hearing, Stuff said. His case was supposed to go to a jury trial. A warrant was subsequently issued for his arrest with a bail of $500 which was never paid. Therefore both the warrant and the charges are outstanding.

The third season of the show is due to premiere on Three on Sunday.

A spokesperson for Three's owner Mediaworks told the Herald: "MediaWorks were not aware of these allegations against Chris Mansfield until today. We are looking into it as a matter of urgency."

The show sees contestants "marry" a complete stranger and cameras follow what happens next.

It's not the first time the Kiwi version of the international franchise has been hit by controversy.

Season one star Andrew Jury made headlines when fellow contestant Maria Mo revealed messages he sent on Tinder, including asking her to "satisfy her Asian fetish" and later calling her "ugly" and "a mutant" when she declined.

More recently, season two contestant Ottie Schwartz made headlines over drink driving and assault charges.

Schwartz was charged with drink driving in Christchurch in October 2018. She had a breath alcohol reading of 473mcg - the limit is 250mcg. Schwartz entered a guilty plea and was fined $400 and disqualified from driving for six months.

She also made headlines when she admitted to assaulting a close friend named Olivia.

In an apparent attempt to get ahead of the controversy before her MAFS season went to air, she spoke to The Project - another Three show - and said: "It got very heated. There was some slinging and I ended up pulling her hair - not a fine moment of mine. I wrote her an apology at the time and that still stands. I'm still really sorry about it."

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