Tasting delicious food and a boosted public profile may be perks of her new role as a ‘MasterChef Australia’ judge, but Melissa Leong has explained to fans there are also “less savoury parts of this job”.
In an Instagram story shared on Wednesday, Melissa said pressure from paparazzi and receiving “projected anger and racism” are daily realities since she joined the cooking show this year alongside Jock Zonfrillo and Andy Allen.
She shared a positive message she received from a viewer, in which that fan thanked Jock for defending Mel against racism, before praising Melissa for her “authenticity” on the show.
“These moments make the less savoury parts of this job (like being stalked daily from my home by creepy photographers, and receiving projected anger and racism), worth it,” Melissa wrote on her Instagram story.
“Thank you to everyone who has shown kindness and support. I may not be able to read them or respond, but I appreciate it.”
She added at the bottom of the post, “Standing up for each other is way cooler than tearing each other down”.
He shared a screenshot of a private Instagram message on his social media platform, in which a viewer, Graham, used the word ‘gook’, a derogatory term for people of East Asian descent.
″Where to begin with this... Firstly I can only assume you are referring to @fooderati when you used the term ‘gook’....,” Jock wrote, tagging Melissa’s Instagram handle.
“She’s actually Melissa, she’s my work wife, my sister, my mate, she drinks espresso like I do, she is able to express and articulate a damn sight better than you can clearly and that is just the beginning Graham. She’s a woman whose origin happens to be different than yours, but why does that make you so afraid?
“I feel sorry for you that you cannot see past the colour of someone’s skin or actually the fact they are just different than your white ass in any way.”
The Scottish celebrity chef asked the viewer to “get educated and be a better human”.
“You owe it to yourself and everyone around you who are most probably too embarrassed by the shit you say to let you know.”
Jock warned his social media followers he wouldn’t tolerate being sent offensive private messages.
“I’m sick of this type of thing getting sent to me so here’s a heads up... if you send this kind of shit to me it’s getting called out,” he said.
Melissa, who is proud of her Singaporean-Chinese heritage, acknowledged her co-star’s support, saying, “We have such a long way to go as a nation, if we think racism doesn’t exist.
“Thank you for being an ally, a friend and an awesome work husband.”