‘MasterChef Australia’ contestant Ben Ungermann has broken his silence after news emerged he was arrested and charged with two counts of sexual assault. He has shared a tweet published by his lawyer denying the allegations.
The 36-year-old from Queensland was a contestant on this year’s all-stars season of the Channel 10 cooking show, but had left the competition that was filmed in Melbourne early due to an incident of a “personal nature”.
“Melbourne Sexual Offences and Child Abuse Investigation Team detectives have charged a man following an incident in the Docklands earlier this year,” a Victoria Police spokeswoman told HuffPost Australia on Wednesday.
“The arrest follows an investigation into an alleged sexual assault in Docklands on 23 February. A 36-year-old Queensland man has been charged with two counts sexual assault.
“He has been bailed to appear at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on 25 June.”
Ben’s name appears twice in court appearance listings for June 25 at the Melbourne Magistrates Court.
On Tuesday Ben shared a screenshot on his Instagram story of a tweet published by lawyer Adam Houda.
“NEWS: I act for Ben Ungermann. Allegations against my client are vehemently denied and will be defended. #MasterChefAU,” read the tweet.
Back in March production company Endemol Shine released a statement after it had become known that Ben was arrested by police for an incident of a “personal nature”.
“We can confirm Ben Ungermann has left the MasterChef Australia competition,” the spokesman said at the time. “As this is a police matter, we will not be making further comment.”
Ben has only addressed his departure from the show once.
When asked by an Instagram follower how he would be edited out of the show, he replied: “That’s up to MasterChef Australia. Appreciate the support”.
Sunday night’s episode of ‘MasterChef Australia: Back To Win’ commenced with judge Jock Zonfrillo addressing Ben’s absence with a brief statement.
“You’re probably wondering where Ben is. Due to a personal matter, Ben has had to leave the competition, and he will not be returning,” said the judge.
On Monday contestant Hayden Quinn said it was a “shock” to hear Jock deliver the news.
“Yeah bit of a twist, hey? It was a real shock for us because we had no idea, obviously,” Hayden told HuffPost Australia.
“We turned up and Ben wasn’t there and there was a bit of confusion, and then we heard exactly what you heard on TV last night and that’s pretty much it, that he’s not coming in.
“I don’t really know much more than that, to be honest.”