Matilda Rice defends herself after "barrage of hate" about new reality TV series

goss 12/06/2018

Matilda Rice has responded to the barrage of online abuse she has received in the wake of her hosting appearance on a new dating show.

The first episode of Heartbreak Island aired on TVNZ on Monday night, causing a social media storm due to the contestants being ranked in popularity, based on their appearance.

Ms Rice was ridiculed online by her Instagram followers for hosting the show alongside Mark Dye - so much so, she deleted a post that promoted the show because of the effect it was having on her mental health.

Photo credit: Instagram

On Tuesday, Rice took to Instagram to share her side of the story.

"I've been absolutely inundated with messages, comments and tweets, telling me I'm a bad person and I just want to add a little bit of context around it," she said.

The show shacks the 16 singles up on Fiji to find love while competing for $100,000.

She says they initially judge each other off a photo then get to know each other once they have met.

"So that's what Tinder is right? That's exactly what Tinder is, but it's obviously a lot more confronting when its face to face and not behind a phone or a laptop."

Rice said filming the first episode was "quite difficult".

"Filming that was obviously quite difficult, telling [contestants] Ella and Tavita that they were the least popular - it was hard to film and it was hard to watch."

Her followers were outraged at remarks she'd made during the episode, including the phrase "popularity is power".

Photo credit: Instagram

Rice said people needed to understand she was only doing her job.

"I was there contracted and paid to do a job - and I did that job," she explained.

"The absolute barrage of hate I got on social media last night and today was like awful - I felt like shit, I felt like absolute shit."

She was so anxious she couldn't sleep on Monday night, she said.

"Please don't [send] me any more messages telling me I've done the wrong thing, because I've had enough and I just delete them straight away."

Rice herself found love on reality television, and has since got engaged to Art Green, who she met on the first season of Three's The Bachelor NZ.