Being a contestant on The Block is a huge privilege, but it doesn’t come without its controversies!
With challenges, project managing tradesman and everything else that comes with being on the high-pressure show, tensions are expected to rise, often forming into pretty big scandals.
Looking back through the series, we can pinpoint some of the biggest controversies to rock The Block.
The global pandemic
As if The Block isn’t stressful enough, along came 2020 and coronavirus.
One of the biggest things to happen at the start of this season was the entire production being shut down so contestants could get back to their families before border’s closed.
After the lockdown period, blockheads were allowed back on site to resume construction.
However, during the lockdown period, contestant Harry Pavlou, who is partnered with his daughter Tash, was caught on camera taking a stroll to the worksite to take measurements.
With Harry and Tash living in Melbourne, and close to the site of Brighton, a lot of other contestants who were shipped back to their home state’s found this to be an unfair advantage as Harry was able to continue planning. The move gained the dad his ‘Dirty Harry’ nickname.
But that still wasn’t the biggest controversy to come from this season …
Luke and Jas’ plagiarism
Husband and wife team Luke and Jasmin were called out by judge Shaynna Blaze last week when their winning kid’s bedroom had a striking resemblance to former Block contestants Kyal and Kara who had recently designed a similar room and posted online.
However, two days following the room reveals, Blaze found their true source of inspiration.
Blaze told the couple she’d done “a little fishing” in her own time after judging their room, and presented them with a picture of a children’s bedroom that looked near-identical to theirs, from an Inside Out magazine photo shoot:
The room in question is in the ‘Barefoot Bay Villa’ in Byron Bay, created by The Designory and featured on their company website and the property’s Airbnb listing, as many viewers have pointed out on social media since Sunday’s episode.
Jasmin freely admitted the shoot had been the “inspiration” for their room.
“I showed everyone that picture while we were filming, saying it was my inspo. It wasn’t a secret,” she said.
“You’re calling it inspiration. Inspiration is one thing. Completely taking someone’s idea and making it your own is another,” said Blaze.
“We’re in a competition, and you won a room where you make money. You haven’t changed it up enough.”
However, in upcoming episodes of The Block, the couple are the centre of another copying scandal, when foreman Keith Schleiger notices they installed a similar looking kitchen bench to Daniel and Jade’s.
“Christian Cole came along, put this in and then, isn’t it weird how the next day …” Keith says, before the footage shows Luke and Jasmin’s bench.
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Keith isn’t the only one who notices either, with contestant Tam agreeing. “Oh yeah, very similar to that one,” she admitted in the teaser.
Daniel and Luke seem to come to blows in the episode, however, Daniel tells the camera that he will let viewers be the real judge.
“I’ll let the public decide at home,” he said.
The drama involving show creator Julian Cress
In 2019, contestants Mitch and Mark accused Jesse and Mel of copying their apartment, later blaming producer’s for setting them up.
Speaking to 9Entertainmentat the time, Mel explained:
“The boys had actually come to us two weeks earlier and said, ‘A producer has told us to accuse you of cheating and told us to call a body corporate,’” Jesse explained.
The Block’s executive producer and co-creator, Julian Cress, was blamed for creating the drama, however unseen footage later emerged proving Julian wasn’t at fault.
“Turns out they (Mitch and Mark) were just lying to us, to our face, and they had instigated the entire thing,” said Jesse.
“I felt sick in the stomach to be honest, because you see these people every day, 24 hours a day – to have someone like that stab you in the back and start spreading lies and rumours.”
“If a friend of yours betrayed your trust and spread lies about you, you’d just wipe them and never speak to them again and that’s the end of it. But in this instance, you’ve got to put up with Mitch and Mark just being so two-faced and fake,” he explained.
“I just wanted to call it out – ‘You’re a liar, you’ve done the wrong thing, you’re being manipulative’. They’re ultimately playing the game more than anyone.”
The fake ‘wallpaper lady’
In 2016, contestant Sara Vale was called out by a fellow contestant Jess when she was caught FaceTiming an unknown person asking for design advice while in Carpet Court. The person on the phone was said to be her ‘wallpaper lady’, however it is against the rules to seek outside professional help for design.
The ‘OG’ copying cheating scandal
In 2016, Ronnie and Georgia were accused of cheating on their winning kid’s room. Similar to Luke and Jas from 2020, their winning room seemed to be a complete copy and paste of Melbourne interior design business Norsu Interiors, pointed out by contestant Jason who forwarded a photo exposing the similarities.
It came to blows as Jason and the other couples confronted Ronnie and Georgia. Jason raised questions about the originality of their kids room and Georgia was quick to fire back.
“So you’re basically calling me a cheat. Is that what you’re doing?” she snapped.
She went on to defend her design.
“OK, I’ve got to say something. I have got to defend myself here. I am highly passionate about that bedroom I did,” she said.
“I went into that store because I knew I wanted the Mrs Migehtto prints. I knew I wanted the Incy interiors bed. They happen to be stockists of that. I one hundred and fifty per cent did that whole room on my own. I did not have help from them. And I take pride in my interior design abilities and I won’t let you say that they helped me on that.”
But that wasn’t the only accusation hurled at the couple.
Jason said he’s noticed a “couple of extra people” leaving Ronnie and Georgia’s house in previous nights – and it appeared to be tradie friends the couple flew over from Perth to help with the renovation.
The recording device
In 2014, contestants Simon and Shannon were busted when the judges found one of their phones recording them critiquing their room, hidden under the bed.
Scotty Cam revealed to Simon and Shannon that they found the phone before giving out each contestant’s scores that week.
It prompted the host to question whether or not the boys trusted him to relay the judges’ criticism effectively.
“That was awkward,” Simon responded.