RTÉ have said that they “regret” causing Rose of Tralee contestants any “upset”, and admitted that they would review the filming process next year.
The broadcaster, and the people behind the Rose of Tralee contest, were slammed in the coming days after the festival – and criticised for how the Roses were treated during filming for RTÉ’s behind-the-scenes documentary Road to the Dome.
Down Rose Fainche McCormack and Sydney Rose Brianna Parkins publicly hit out at RTÉ and Rose of Tralee bosses, with Fainche citing that none of the Rose signed up “to be treated like animals in the circus”.
In a since deleted Facebook post, Fainche wrote, “I could go on for days about the many ways we were manipulated, bullied and mistreated … None of us signed up for a cheap reality television show and now unfortunately the Rose of Tralee is an experience I will never forget, for all the wrong reasons.”
Backlash: Sydney Rose Brianna slammed the contest – and RTÉ’s filming process
Meanwhile, Sydney Rose Brianna described how their phones were confiscated and contestants were divided into two rooms and told whether they had made it through to the final round on camera.
“We were barked at and told not to do anything to ruin the shot. It was all about getting the shot, I signed up for the Rose of Tralee, I didn’t sign up for reality TV. I was really disappointed, I thought it was unethical.”
“They got us up early so we were tired, and to get a reaction. It was extremely manipulative. We were not told about that [process of elimination] until midnight the night before.
“I think if they had told us further before we wouldn’t have been happy to participate,” she told Evoke.ie.
Regret: RTÉ regret upsetting any Rose of Tralee contestants | BRIAN MCEVOY
Now, RTÉ have responded to the negativity, and insisted that contestants were informed that they would be filmed during every aspect of the competition.
A joint statement released by RTÉ and Rose of Tralee bosses said, “The Road to The Dome was a new addition to the Rose of Tralee’s television coverage this year. It was commissioned by RTE and produced in co-operation and agreement with the Rose of Tralee committee.
“The 65 Roses were aware from the outset that they were being filmed at all stages in the run up to the live television shows. This also included the selection process where the 65 became 32 for the live televised programmes.
“In advance of the show going out on Monday evening the festival were given the opportunity to to view the programme and were happy with it. We regret that the Down Rose Fainche McCormack was upset at elements of the filming process for the documentary and RTE and the Rose of Tralee Festival have agreed to review the process for next year,” the statement read.