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MAFS’ Cyrell Paule and Nine sued for defamation over racism and assault allegations

A takeaway shop’s owner has commenced defamation proceedings against former Married at First Sight contestant Cyrell Paule, who became known as “Cyclone Cyrell” during her stint on the reality show, and its broadcaster, Nine.

Paule allegedly defamed Deborah Wilson, owner of Pelican Cafe Takeaway in Shoal Bay, north of Newcastle, when she posted a video to her 235,000 Instagram followers in June. In the video, Paule claimed that the “restaurant owner” called her a “black monkey”, grabbed her around the throat, and assaulted Paule’s then partner Eden Dally, a former Love Island Australia contestant.

Paule appeared on this year’s season of Married at First Sight

Paule is currently pregnant with her and Dally’s first child, but the pair have reportedly split.

Wilson is also suing Nine for publishing an article headlined ‘Married at First Sight 2019: Cyrell claims woman called her racial slurs and physically attacked her’ to its websites Nine and 9Honey. The article remained on the websites for a month, according to the court documents viewed by Mumbrella.

Wilson says that, due to Paule and Nine, she has been “greatly injured in her reputation, has suffered hurt to feelings and has been and will be brought into public disrepute, odium, ridicule and contempt”. She alleges that Paule’s video, including its “language, tone and production style”, was “over-sensationalised”.

Paule “recklessly alleg[ed] that the ‘restaurant owner’ had engaged in the conduct in question when she had no basis whatsoever to make such an allegation”, the statement of claim reads. Allegedly, Paule did not withdraw the allegations after police told her neither Wilson nor her staff – her two daughters – were involved in the incident.

Hi everyone, I am the owner of Pelican Cafe takeaway. Myself and my staff who are my daughters witnessed an incident…

Posted by Pelican Cafe Takeaway on Monday, June 10, 2019

Nine alleged the “owner of the cafe” engaged in the conduct without “first checking [Wilson’s] side of the story”, the document states. The articles acted to allegedly defame Wilson “in order to shamelessly promote the Nine Network programme MAFS”, she claims.

This year’s season of MAFS was a ratings powerhouse for Nine, closing out with 1.9m metro viewers – 2.611m nationally – for its final episode. The finale pulled the biggest ratings numbers across all six seasons of the reality dating show, but Paule became particularly known for an episode in which fellow contestant Martha poured a glass of wine over her.

Both Paule and Nine allegedly did not provide an apology in response to Wilson’s request for one, and the court documents filed by Wilson attach a transcript of the Instagram video, and screenshots of the 9Honey article.

Nine, which declined to comment on the case, now has an opportunity to file a defence, with an initial case management hearing set down for this Thursday.

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