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Masterchef Australia Judges Quit Because They Weren’t Being Paid Enough

Masterchef Australia Judges Quit Because They Weren’t Being Paid Enough

Just before Masterchef Australia was supposed to crown its 2019 winner last night, Channel 10 released a statement that was a bigger shock than the final outcome.

The network said: "Network 10 today announced that Matt Preston, Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris will not return as judges in the next season of MasterChef Australia.

"Despite months of negotiation, 10 has not been able to reach a commercial agreement that was satisfactory to Matt, Gary and George.

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"Australia is full of remarkable cooking talent and we can't wait to introduce another group - and the next generation of exceptional judges - in season 12 of MasterChef Australia next year.

"We would like to thank Gary, George and Matt for their contribution over the past 11 years."

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Hosting a show for more than a decade is a pretty good innings, but the timing of this scandal, as well as the reason behind the move, couldn't have come at a worse time for George.

Calombaris was last week fined $200,000 by the Fair Work Commission because he failed to pay more than 500 current and former staff $7.8 million in wages and superannuation.

So the idea that he wanted to be paid more per episode while he wasn't fairly paying his own staff is pretty ironic.

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Credit: Channel 10
Credit: Channel 10

The Sydney Morning Herald reports the trio was being paid individually more than a million bucks as the judges. The increase they were requesting, according to the SMH, was an extra 40 percent on top of their current salaries.

It's worth noting that George has since paid back all the outstanding wage and super issues, however the Fair Work Commission wanted something more.

In addition to forking out nearly a quarter of a million bucks, Calombaris has been ordered to 'complete speaking arrangements to educate the restaurant industry on the importance of workplace compliance'.

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It's hoped this clause will send a message to other restaurateurs about the dangers they face when they don't pay their staff correctly.

Credit: Channel 10
Credit: Channel 10

In a final blow to a very difficult fortnight for Calombaris, he has been dumped by Western Australia Tourism as an ambassador.

The Masterchef Australia judge will be removed from all social media content previously uploaded by the body and all future posts will be avoided, according to news.com.au.

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Apparently, the Create Your Own Gourmet Escape in WA was supposed to run until the end of September and Calombaris was the face of the campaign. There are alternatives that don't feature the celebrity chef.

There's much speculation of who could replace Matt, Gary and George, with news.com.au tipping Curtis Stone, Poh Ling Yeow and Maggie Beer.

Featured Image Credit: Channel 10

Topics: Entertainment, TV and Film, Australia

Stewart Perrie

Stewart Perrie is a Trending Journalist at LADbible. His first job was as a newsreader and journalist at the award winning Sydney radio station, Macquarie Radio. He was solely responsible for the content broadcast on multiple stations across Australia when the MH17, Germanwings and AirAsia disasters unfolded. Stewart has covered the conflict in Syria for LADbible, interviewing a doctor on the front line, and has contributed to the hugely successful UOKM8 campaign.