The Real Housewives of Melbourne Season 1 – Bullies, Bitching, CC’d emails, Annoymous Blogs, Filth txt msgs and Twitter Defamation, I forgot how f$cked up RHOMelbourne s1 really was..
Original post date, 26th April 2014. There was no doubt that The Real Housewives of Melbourne, the first Australian series of the popular international Housewives franchise would cause a stir, these reality shows always do. But maybe what the RHOM cast didn’t anticipate was the outpouring of support for Gina Liano after storylines showed a rift between the Melbourne barrister and some of the other women, particularly Andrea Moss, Lydia Schiavello and Janet Roach. Recent episodes have shown Andrea, Lydia and Janet take issue with Gina over things like an email that Andrea and Lydia read as a personal legal threat, Gina’s lateness to one event (a massive pet peeve of Janet the Vampire – and sunlight)
But the reason why the Housewives of Melbourne antics have become Newspaper worthy headlines is because the feelings and hormones have continued and even intensified as the RHOM show has gone live to air on Foxtel. The 10 episode series was filmed a year ago in 2013 and the Real Housewives of Melbourne cast members have only just now experienced the full brunt of the audience and viewers reaction.
#teamgina supporters rallied behind Gina Liano because they believed she was being attacked and bullied by the other Real Housewives of Melbourne women. It’s clear from her social media support pages and media polls that Gina Liano is the most popular cast member on the show for The Real Housewives of Melbourne Season 1. We spoke with Gina Liano on the phone Friday afternoon (as she took her son on a driving lesson!) to get her take on everything, from the contents of that CC’d email, to how she’s been treated while the show’s gone to air, to the anonymous ‘cheap perfume’ blog post, why she refused to have her family included on the show and whether or not she’ll even return for Season 2.
I wanted to chat to you because you have so much support across social media and media voting polls.
Gina Liano: It’s quite amazing. I looked at it the other night and saw Pop Sugar has a poll about, ‘Will you watch the show if Gina leaves?‘ or something to that effect, and I think it was 92 percent said they wouldn’t.
Can I tell you? It’s (my supporters) have been a lifesaver, because it’s been really traumatic the whole thing. The audience doesn’t see the full brunt of it, they just see bits and pieces; you get probably 45 minutes each week for 10 weeks, but it actually went on for 15 weeks, 10-15 hours a day for four or five days a week. It was pretty horrendous.
I think the timeline of this is really interesting, because you filmed about a year ago but just did the press release a few months back. You still wouldn’t have known how it/ you would be perceived by the Australian public – and now you’re going through it. Can you tell us about expereincing this unfolding now in real time?
Gina Liano: You’re absolutely right, none of us knew how it was going to be perceived. I didn’t really spend a lot of time with the girls apart from when I had media obligations through Foxtel, and contractual obligations, otherwise I had no contact with them at all, not even over the phone. I think we were all probably worried – I certainly was – because it was a bit embarrassing for me, the way I was treated; I’ve never been treated like that before, and I pride myself on being pretty dignified, and having a professional position and role. I’ve never been in an aggressive situation where I’ve been targeted like that – ever! So I didn’t know how I was going to come off, and I didn’t know whether the audience would agree with how they were behaving. I didn’t see all the stuff, obviously when I wasn’t there; I didn’t get to see the eye-rolling of Lydia when I spoke about my cancer charity event, I didn’t know she was being so contemptuous. I also didn’t know I was being called a dog and I didn’t know that I was being bagged for the way I looked. All I knew was what was happening when I was face-to-face with them on camera.
It was quite hurtful, I suppose, to watch it. But it was pretty consistent with how they were behaving off-camera. As I said, I didn’t see them for a long time after we finished filming, but when everything did start to go to air, I could see the audience reacting in a way that was actually so similar to things I thought and felt. It was so refreshing that the audience could see how bad the situation was, and they weren’t willing to accept it, which was pretty much the position I was coming from all the way through.
I think the girls were surprised. I think because they had their group, who were all so agreeable, that they came away from the show quite convinced that they would manage to assassinate my character with the audience, and that I would have a whole nation rising against me in protest for stuff they believed was so bad, that it warranted being treated the way that I was. I think it’s been a real shock to them. The reason why I say that is because if they had foresight, they perhaps wouldn’t have behaved that way in the first place. I know this because I was getting feedback from journalists and different people about how the girls believed they would come across well. For example, one of the cast members was going around saying, “Gina’s going to come out of this looking so bad by the end, and we’re going to come out looking so good.” When people told me that, I said, “Well I think Andrea’s going to be very surprised, or Janet’s going to be very frazzled,” because I’d be very surprised if the audience thought that’s OK, what they’ve said and what they’ve done. At the same time, I still didn’t know for sure. So it’s been an absolutely amazing journey [laughs]
How do you feel about the way you’ve been portrayed on The Real Housewives of Melbourne?
Gina Liano: I think we’ve all been portrayed pretty much how we are. It’s very difficult to maintain behaviour, if it’s not honest over that period of time under those circumstances. You can’t maintain it if it’s not real; the truth actually reveals itself. The producers are waiting for everybody to get to that point where they react in a certain way. What the producers have pulled together with me are probably the highlights of who I am, because the rest of the stuff was maybe not as good as that, and likewise for the girls. They pulled out some of the nastiest, bitchiest stuff, because it makes for interesting television. But at the same time that I say that, there was actually nastier, bitchier stuff going on, that was so nasty they couldn’t put it to air.
What are your thoughts overall for the RHOM s1 storyline? Your CC’d email etc, because from what I gather and what’s been shown on Arena and Foxtel plus what I’ve read, is that you emailed the producers about not including your partner in the show, which has now become a massive storyline in itself.
Gina Liano: I’m
fucking annoyed with the girls because they tried at every opportunity to embarrass me, disparage, or throw me under the bus, if you like. This was just another example of it. I was trying to stop them from talking about my partner when I was overseas and carrying on that storyline. My view, at the end of the day, is that those girls aren’t very interesting women; I think Chyka’s probably the most interesting.
I think the producers were just short on storylines and I was worried that they were going to use my partner as a backup, that they were going to embarrass me, for the sake of their reality show. My partner hadn’t signed up like the other girls’ partners had, he was in another country and couldn’t defend himself plus I was also in another country and I couldn’t defend him either. When I was away, I did speak to Janet – and this comes out in the reunion show, anyway – probably two days in after I arrived and she’d been filming that day, she did tell me that the producers got her to start talking about my partner with her girlfriend Manuela, their thoughts on the subject and what they would do if they were in my predicament. I said to Janet, “I don’t want you talking about Dean, because he’s not here,” Janet’s known Dean for 20 years. I can say that stuff and muck around, but this is not going to be 10 episodes about me in this long distance relationship, and my partner being unfaithful.
I spoke to my partner, and he said, “Because you’re not there, we need to send them a letter.” He was furious that the producers were milking this whole situation. It is defamatory to talk about someone like that. It does question someone’s integrity, whether you can trust them. I mean if you were in business with someone and you were managing a lot of funds, you would question who this person was. Then suddenly he’s on Foxtel and they’re talking about how many girls he’s been with, stuff like that. So we needed to stop it. Whether it’s true or not is irrelevant – the fact that it’s being said is enough.
Rather than letting him write a legal letter, I sent an email to the shows producers (makes sense – Gina is the lawyer?) not a legal email, just a profesional email as one of the RHOM cast members. It wrote about my partner and said, “I know you’re short on storylines, but can you please not talk about him?” We do actually read it out at the reunion, because these women know I tried to keep the content confidential – not because there’s anything in it or to hide, but just because I didn’t want him to be a part of the show. If he wanted to be part of Housewives of Melbourne, he would have signed up like Chris Moss, Andrew Norbury and Bruce Keebaugh. They all signed a release – my partner didn’t. So they pulled out the email at the reunion show and read it out, and it talks about the fact that it does question his integrity, and whether he’s trustworthy. He’s a force not to be reckoned with, he will litigate if he needs to and he’s furious! I said that I would serve the girls with copies of the email so that they’re aware, and I cc’d them in. So it all gets read out in the RHOM reunion show. Whether they use it legally, I’m not sure. Whether they’ll risk any legal repercussions from reading something like that out or whether they’re comfortable doing so, let’s see what happens.
But really, it’s just nonsense. This has been the most frustrating experience. I’ve never encountered anything as frustrating as I have dealing with these woman in the past 12 months.
There are articles in the paper dating back to 2011 – it might not have been 2011, but there are cases from 2011 – where Andrea Moss is trying to defend her husband’s integrity because someone’s defamed him on a website. She invested a lot of money (not in clothing..) into preserving his reputation. Now, a woman who has reacted that way to preserve her husband’s reputation you’d assume has some understanding of how another woman might be protecting the integrity of her own partner. For some reason that didn’t matter. It didn’t create any empathy or understanding in her.
I wanted to ask you about this “Anonymous ‘cheap perfume’ blog post” which obviously you’re across – who do you think wrote it?
Gina Liano: I don’t know for sure, but someone actually posted as commentary, I think it was in a blog, this comment on the 21st of April this year 2014 at 7:41 a.m. I think it was about an hour-and-a-half before someone re-posted it on Twitter. It was about four hours before this that the anonymous person emailed me a copy of the Blog/ Letter. It said, ‘I have a friend who’s one of the producers and knows some of the girls formally, he says behind the scenes it’s all a big mess. There has been a lot of communication going on with this particular website and The Real Housewives of Melbourne”. Then she says, ‘Some of them apparently reek of desperation and fame, apparently Lydia Schiavello hired someone to write an anonymous blog attacking Gina Liano so the audience would somehow be persuaded away from #teamgina to #teamlydiot and #teammandrea before the RHOM s1 Reunion airs.’ The logic behind that is so brainless and pathetic. So that’s what was posted.
The other thing was that Lydia Schiavello had been posting the night before, ‘Gina the cancer patient,’ and putting little images of me smoking cigarettes. She wouldn’t know anything anyway, I haven’t seen her since filming finished a year ago – she would not know for one minute whether I smoked or not. Lydia doesn’t know anything, I have no contact with her at all. Occasionally I have a cigarette with Janet Roach when we finish a 15 hour shoot, but still Lydia wouldn’t know. Lydia’s son smokes, my boys smoke, smoking’s around. It’s not great of course but also not such a dramatic issue, but for some reason Lydia is being a bit hideous about everything, about me. She thinks that this will make me look bad, at least about my health.
Lydia Schiavello also started posting on social media about one of my followers or something, someone who was not very friendly to her, she posted things on Twitter like, ‘We’ll see what you think about Gina Liano by the end of the day, wait and see…‘ It was almost like Lydia was pre-empting some twitter war that was coming for me. Unless you’re getting some of Jackie Gilles vibes – that doesn’t make sense.
That “CC’d email” – there are things written in that CC’d email such as “cheap perfume” at the RHOM s1 Reunion show I did have a cigarette with Alex Perry, I do also carry Impulse around which is cheap perfume, so I can use it afterwards and not smell of smoke. So this tells me that someone close to the RHOM cast or crew had written it. It’s definitely not a Foxtel employee, I know all the Foxtel employees and get along famously with all of them. Foxtel made an official statement to say it’s got nothing to do with Arena or Foxtel. It was really offensive things, like how my children were referred to as ‘offspring,’ but Andrea’s children were referred to as ‘babies.’ There was a lot of contempt in it, and there was a lot of detail in it, things like the cheap perfume. Now whether there was a pin camera, I don’t know. . . I’m thinking there was no way it could have been Foxtel – everything we did was recorded anyway, why do Foxtel need a pin camera? [Laughs] It just doesn’t make any sense.
The whole show for you sounded like a lot to go through and so intense. You do have a lot of fans and supporters who are worried you won’t return for another series of The Real Housewives of Melbourne, many fans saying they won’t watch it at all if you leave. What are your thoughts on doing RHOMelbourne Season 2?
Gina Liano: No one’s had a conversation with the producers about it yet. It’s not something that’s come up. I’ve had an awful experience; it’s certainly not what I thought I was signing up for. What has got me through: I can see how people are bullied, it’s that relentless bullying and it escalates often and quickly with a lot of bullies, until they get a rise out of their victims and then they retaliate. That’s usually when it stops. In the end they push until you break, so they can point their finger and say, “See, she is that person.” They’re trying to justify their behaviour, you see this a lot in abusive relationships. I see it in a lot of my cases where there is child abuse and family violence, I’ve also seen a lot of crime. You see a pattern. I feel I was very much on the receiving end of an abusive relationship with each of those girls, bar Chyka. And probably not Jackie, she sits back and lets it roll. But I was on the receiving end of abuse that was behaviour that Jackie had already put in place.
The whole “Gina’s late again” rubbish, Lydia Schiavello had been late on many occasions, in fact if you speak to the producers, Lydia was consistently late. I was actually the least late! actually wait, that’s not the right way to say it, but out of all the RHOM cast members, I was probably the most punctual. I had drivers picking me up to go to every shoot, so there was no reason for me not to be on time. It was only on one occasion that I got tied up in
tennis court, they just thought it would be a great storyline, as I did say to Janet, “Can you please not push that storyline?” It’s actually really serious misconduct as a barrister to not be punctual. You can’t keep the court and your client waiting, they’re so pedantic and particular about it. Janet Roach used it against me, and it could affect my whole career. That was almost like a green light – let’s go.
I don’t know whether I could do it all over again. I think they will have to reconsider the RHOM cast (Karma’s a Bitch and She knows where you live..) I don’t think the RHOMelbourne audience will want to watch that dynamic again, they’ll just switch
the bitch off. The reality (of reality TV) is that under contract when you sign up, you really sign away your rights to be precious about being embarrassed or disparaged, and that’s OK. I copped it on the chin because I thought I had a pact with these table full of morons women, I thought we were going to look out for each other. Unfortuantley it didn’t work out that way, I’ve copped it from them but I’m contracted and I signed up to the Housewives of Melbourne, also the reason why I have to keep going. If not? I would have never kept going.
Now that Season 1 of The Real Housewives of Melbourne is over, that means the contract’s ended as well, I was looking forward to never seeing them again. Despite signing up for that under contract, there were social media policies under the contracted that prohibited the girls from embarrassing and disparaging each other on social media, and they hadn’t really complied with that at all. I mean I’ve been called filth by Andrea Moss, I’ve never been called anything like that in my life (c#nts fine) People may say, “Oh well, you called Lydia Schiavello the c-word,” but we were filming, it was for entertainment (and she can be a c$nt) I was angry with Lydia at the time because I’d been called a c$nt, I was in a situation where I’d been set up. I was angry.
The point I’m getting to is this, whilst I signed up for it and I was put in that situation where I was treated really badly, it also continued outside the parameters of the contract. That’s the part that really upset me. Every time a new RHOMelbourne episode goes to air, whoever is the ‘target’ of the audience will escalate and up their campaign against me. After Mission
Impossible bitch face Beach, it was Andrea Moss who targeted me, she got really aggressive , also morphed into man. Then there was that one time Janet Roach wasn’t drunk, I’ve got sober txt messages from Janet where she’s called me really feral vulgar things that I can’t believe a vampire woman is speaking to anyone like that. So yes the bullying has continued. This week it’s Lydia and that blog post and if she didn’t write the blog, she certainly helped promoting it by retweeting it numerous times. Can I tell you something? I received a pretty vicious email about her six or seven weeks ago, you know what I did with it? I put it in the cupboard (unusual – must be an italian thing, most of us would just delete that shit, but ok..) I thought, ‘There’s no way I will allow anything like this to come out.’ It was so defamatory and harmful – it spoke about her children, her husband, their finances, it has mobile and contact numbers on it – it’s a bloody full exposé! I actually did tell Lydia about it but not only did she not tell me about this ‘cheap perfume’ blog, she kept it secret and then published and retweeted it!
Do I want to do a second season of The Real Housewives of Melbourne?
fuck that I don’t like these women! I really don’t. I signed up for s2 in the first season, under contract. Then the season ended but now I’m copping it even worse in the assassination of my character in the screening period, it’s just gotten worse and worse. Every time the audience reacted to their foul behaviour they pointed their pointy finger at me, to target me or try and explain or validate their behaviour. Do I want to do that all over again? Probably fucking not. I think the audience and viewers would be upset, but I don’t think Matchbox Pictures can do anything about it, to be honest.
Some viewers have stated that the RHOMelbourne must be scripted or ‘put on’ because it can’t be real – it’s too much, but after everything I’ve read and now talking to you it seems to be very real indeed.
Gina Liano: Well in actual
factual fact it’s nastier than what you’ve seen. I don’t understand it, because if anything, the nastiness should be coming from me because I’m the one who’s been really badly mistreated. But because I didn’t react, it frustrated them and made them chase a reaction. I think these girls were furious that I wasn’t giving them what they wanted, then it just got worse…..
There are also two main parts to RHOMelbourne: one – is obviously the production period, when we are filming, two – is when it goes live to air. The part the viewers don’t see is their reactions whilst it’s all happening and going to air, and it’s all towards me. Can I tell you something
again? It’s 100 times worse than what you’ve seen on TV. In real life. In real time. bogan bully txt messages, feral drunk tweets – I’ve blocked them all on social media. It’s been quite disgraceful actually. c$nts.
End – Of – Friendship for you and Janet Roach on the RHOMelbourne, actually were you even friends to begin with?
Gina Liano: I didn’t spend a lot of time with Janet, ever. We didn’t socialise, we didn’t really wing each other. When Matchbox Pictures were negotiating me being cast on the RHOM show, I never spoke to Janet about it. You wouldn’t call it a real friendship. We’ve been acquaintances for 20 years, we were always happy to see each other, always had a laugh and a chat. Janet’s been friends with my brother-in-law’s sister for a long time, so there is a connection. That part is sad, definitely it is sad that it ended the way it did, but even If I had never met Janet before filming, her vampire behaviour would still have
fucked me up upset me.
You told Janet Roach that in this ‘reality TV bubble’ it’s easy to forget about your relationships and friendships outside of the RHOM show, the ones that aren’t filmed.
Gina Liano: I made sure no one I knew was featured on the show. I made sure my boys weren’t. . . because the moment I became a target of that behaviour, I thought, ‘I’ve signed up for this, and if I have to handle it then I will.’ I didn’t anticipate how it would turn out, but I’ve put myself out there and taken the risk, so I have to cop it on the chin. Somehow and remember I’m there to entertain; I’m not saving lives here. I was in a situation where the minute things started to turn ugly, which was in the first couple of weeks, there was no way I was going to put my children on that show, because I wasn’t sure how the audience was going to react. I wasn’t going to put my family, I wasn’t going to put anybody that I knew on that show that could then be targeted by those mean girls. I thought, ‘I can manage me, but if I have to manage them saying anything about my children, I might not cope. I might lose my
SNAP THE FUCK OUT OF IT composure.’ You have to draw a line, there are certain boundaries that once they’re crossed you might lose your SNAP THE FUCK OUT OF IT composure. I couldn’t put myself or my children in that situation.
I did plan on having family functions and everything on the show. We sat down with producers to talk about things that were happening in our lives that we were going to allow them to film, and I thought well my son’s birthday is in September, we usually have Father’s Day at my house, we usually have parties, we do this, we do that. . . I just said no.. I said no to the producers, when I could see the storylines and how it was unfolding, I said
get fucked no. You’re not getting any of that from me, I’m sorry NOT. I’m not subjecting one friend or family member to these women. I’ve signed up for this shit, not them.
It will be interesting to see what happens in RHOMelbourne episode 10.
Gina Liano: Episode 10 is going to air this Sunday, I heard Foxtel release the episodes a few weeks in advance to the media etc?
Yeah – We didn’t get Ep10 this week….
Gina Liano: Well that is interesting, isn’t it? Don’t you think? Because they released episode eight as part of damage control, they edited
the fuck out of it, I think because the producers were worried about how the audience would react to Lydia Schiavello calling me the names she had. I think this time around they’ve held on to episode 10 so they can play with the content at the last minute. “Moron? I never said that, I don’t say that word“
Oh actually, I won’t even be able to watch RHOMelbourne ep10 on Foxtel this Sunday night as I’ll be at the
fuck you all Logies. I’ve seen episode 10 in its original cut, so it will be interesting to see what’s been edited or if it has been edited at all.
#rhom #rhomelbourne #ginaliano #RHOMs1 #foxtel #arena #bravo #andreamoss #lydiaschiavello #janetroach #jackiegilles
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