Channel Seven’s upcoming reality series Yummy Mummies is facing heavy criticism before it’s even gone to air.
A promo for the upcoming show, posted on Seven’s Facebook page, was slammed by viewers for showing one of its stars Maria DiGeronimo criticising a cafe patron who is breastfeeding her child.
“Breastfeeding in public is illegal, you just don’t do it,” DiGeronimo says in the show’s controversy-chasing trailer.
Viewers quickly took to social media to denounce the promo as “repulsive” and “appalling”, with a number threatening to boycott the network over DiGeronimo’s “ignorant” comments.
A Change.org petition, calling on Seven to remove the program – or at least the offending portion from airing – has quickly earned around 19,000 signatures and counting.
The petition, launched by The Australian Breastfeeding Project – an initiative started by photographer Sarah Murnane, aimed at ending the negative stigma around breastfeeding in public – calls DiGeronimo’s statement “discrimination against breastfeeding mothers”, and says Seven is in breach of Clause 2.6 of the Commercial Television Code of Practice, concerning “material which may cause distress”.
Murnane told Fairfax Media she’s already been contacted by breastfeeding mothers distressed they’ll be on the receiving end of similar comments in public.
“Our breastfeeding rates are already extremely low… This is a health issue that needs the nation’s attention,” she said.
“Many women have expressed they are now concerned this will encourage those who previously had this view to voice their opinions in public.
“[Seven] have used discrimination against breastfeeding women to try and increase their ratings and it’s disgusting,” she said.
The series, which follows four wealthy expecting mums as they splurge on extravagant baby showers, was originally announced at Seven’s upfronts last October and is set to premiere on Seven later this year.
In a statement posted on Facebook, the network attempted to distance itself from the controversial comments of the show’s cast.
“Seven does not sanction the views expressed by those depicted in the program,” the statement said.
Murnane says she’s also filed an official complaint with the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) but was told they can’t help until the show has aired, while Seven has yet to respond to the petition.
“We actually doubt they ever will, unfortunately,” she says. “We feel Channel Seven doesn’t care that so many are so distressed and upset.”
Seven have been approached for comment.