In parallel with a controversy on the set of The Biggest Loser, information has come to bear regarding the criminal record of one of the food show's contestants. Of course it has to be one of the divorcees. It turns out that Matt Michaelis (from the second round of contestants) has been "convicted of receiving stolen goods, speeding and driving while disqualified" (Source: www.news.com.au) The 41 yr-old has bravely entered the competition with his ex-wife (they split seven years ago), all for the benefit of their 8 yr-old son Max. Interesting, huh? I mean it; how often do you see fellow divorcees pairing up to compete on the same side? Through the brilliance of Larry David, the world has been exposed to the fluidity of relationships, albeit through sitcom eyes, and My Kitchen Rules offers up another serving along those lines.
The expected commercial station response , however, has not been forthcoming. As it turns out Seven believes that, in the words of one of its publicists, "everyone deserves a second chance". Libby Mickan stated further that the pair had entered the competition "for all the right reasons", with the history of breaches having been laid out on the table from the outset. And why not? I've been told that in Germany it is against the law to discriminate against a person based on their criminal history (I'm sure there must be exceptions for particular charges): if a person has undergone the punishment attached to a criminal act then that is the end of it; matter resolved and time to move forward.
Too often, people who are expected to 'reform' and 'contribute meaningfully to society' are unable to really do so due to a criminal record that hangs over their heads more like a noose than a cloud. Toll Holdings in Melbourne, Australia, stands out in this regard, as it is a company that has initiated and developed a program that specifically employs people with records. Again, it believes that people deserve a genuine second chance. This is yet another example where caution needs to be exercised where legislation is involved. What might seem reasonable at face value has unintended ramifications. The paradoxical effect of drug prohibition is another example.
I think we should commend Libby Mickan and the management at Seven. The more that we see attitudes like this shaping action, the more real our claims of humanity will be.