Outrage at ‘graphic’ sex fetish story on The Project
THE Project has divided viewers after airing a "graphic" segment which followed a grieving mother searching for answers following her son's death from a sex fetish procedure.
In Tuesday's episode of The Project, Lynda Chapman is seen confronting the man she holds accountable for Jack's death - his BDSM 'master' Dylan Hafertepen, who she claims her son was in a relationship with.
But viewers were divided over the what the show chose to air - with some even claiming it was "exploitative" and more suited to a show like A Current Affair.
Lots of people live in different relationships than a nuclear family. While loosing a son is obviously heartbreaking, I feel this was a generalised and sensationalist attack on non heteronormative relationships #TheProjectTV— Carlous Moochous (@carlousmoochous) November 6, 2018
Serious story revealed in a sensationalistic and manipulative manner, more like a Channel Nine effort, all that was missing was Tracey Grimshaw #TheProjectTV— Jeff Meyers (@rocket_speaks) November 6, 2018
This was clearly not a healthy relationship but it's no reason to demonise being gay OR a BDSM lifestyle. #TheProjectTV— 🧛♀️ Vampilla Ice 🦇 (@autisticvamp) November 6, 2018
What on earth The Project? Absolutely exploitative piece about Jack and Linda. #TheProjectTV— Phe (@phephedee) November 6, 2018
The segment struck a chord with hosts Waleed Aly and Carrie Bickmore, who fought back tears at the desk after it aired.
"Can you imagine that moment for Lynda, when she is confronting Dylan like that?" Aly said.
Jack, who lived in Seattle in the United States, was one of several of Mr Hafertepen's "pups" who followed his rules on body modification and bodybuilding.
"It was devotion, it was like some sort of clan, family, Like a cult. And to prove their devotion to him they had to change their bodies," Ms Chapman said.
Tragically, Jack died from silicone injection syndrome after the substance was injected into his scrotum.
Ms Chapman didn't learn her son was gravely ill until a day after he died.
"I didn't know he was in hospital, I didn't know he was in an induced coma, I never got to hold him, I never got to hug him. I never got to say goodbye," she said.
"And he (Hafertepen) waits til the day after he's dead to tell me he's dead. I didn't even know he was sick."
She also didn't know that Jack had changed his will three weeks before his death so that Mr Hafertepen would inherit his $200,000 inheritance - something Mr Hafertepen says was Jack's decision.
In heated scenes filmed by The Project, Ms Chapman can be seen confronting Mr Hafertepen with a photo of her son, after he flew to Australia to return Jack's ashes to his family.
"What sort of person injects into their friggin' balls?" Ms Chapman asks, fighting back tears during the emotionally charged exchange.
"What sort of person does that? Someone who feels so badly about themselves, someone who was vulnerable, who just wanted your love at any cost … and the cost of his life. You are the one responsible for Jack's death."
Mr Hafertepen told Ms Chapman that Jack had told him not to tell her he was in hospital in the days before his death unless it was "absolutely necessary".
"I'm sorry Lynda it was very difficult for me, I know you are upset," he said.
He also said he had never injected silicone for Jack and "forbid him from doing so".
News.com.au has made attempts to reach out to Mr Hafertepen for comment.
Watch the full segment on Tuesday's episode of The Project on Network 10 and TenPlay.