Model gets into row with netizens after matchmaking reality show appearance

27 November 2012 / 3 years 11 months ago

Source: The New PaperPhotos: The New Paper, Roy ChuangThe online catfight between model Belinda Teo and netizens on several local forums has ended in her making a police report.The freelance model and contestant in Channel 8’s matchmaking reality show Love In Progress has been embroiled in a swirling controversy over the past week.While the drama was first centred on whether she had been paid to appear on what was ostensibly a reality show, the affair quickly descended into an online melee.Netizens on several forums starting posting photos of Miss Teo, and alleged that she was a social escort with not just one but three agencies.She has now filed a police report over what she claims to be harassment and slander.She claims that strangers have been asking her:“How much?‘She adds: “They post on my Facebook wall and page, it’s really irritating.‘Speaking to The New Paper on Sunday at a friend’s home in Bedok on Friday, the model looks fatigued.Her eyes are red and puffy ‘“ not least because she had just come from her paternal aunt’s wake. The latter died from skin cancer a day before the interview.“I am so tired. So tired that I cannot even remember why I was so angry (over the past few days).‘“I went from being very, very angry, to (feeling) nothing really matters now. Suddenly I just don’t care any more.‘She shows us photos of her 21st birthday celebration just two weeks ago, which was when she last saw her aunt alive.That everything happened all at one go has made it hard for her to cope, she admits with a tired smile. What started as “just for fun‘ and a chance to appear on TV spiralled out of control right after the trailer of Episode 6 for Love In Progress was first aired.The episode was telecast on Monday.Miss Teo recalls: “People started saying (on the online forums) that this girl looks familiar. She is a model, so why must she join a dating show?“I got very disturbed.‘Surely she saw that coming from the time she agreed to audition for the contest?Miss Teo admits: “Yes, that’s why even though they called me a few times, I kept turning them down.“I also told them I just joined Miss Singapore recently... so it’s common sense (that people would gossip about) why I’d need to go on the show.She was sold finally on what one of the producers told her, she claims.“She said it’s fine, you can make friends and if you win, you get money.And you also get to be on TV.“And I’ve always wanted to be on TV, that’s why I joined eventually,‘ confesses the actress- wannabe.Our attempts since Thursday to contact the show’s producers for comments were unsuccessful.Says Miss Teo: “But while I was prepared that I’d be criticised for being a participant, I didn’t expect the social escort rumours to surface.‘A hot-headed Facebook post where she told her detractors to “bring it on‘ did not help, she admits.The online flaming had taken on a magnitude that she did not expect.She stressed that she did not get paid for the show, but the time she told her detractors to “bring it on‘, she had already picked the $3,000 prize money after the four stages of gameplay.“As I could not disclose the ending, I could only hint at the money that I knew I’d won in the end.‘ The only other money she received was $200 for three days of transport and meal allowances, she claims.Miss Teo pauses and sighs loudly, then adds: “Actually, so many things have happened since then that I really can’t remember the details and the sequence of events.‘She is baffled how criticisms of her on the show led to allegations of her moonlighting as a social escort.Pictures of her were posted on three different social escort websites and netizens reposted the links on the online forums.Her friend, photographer Mr Roy Chuang, 35, says: “I still remember her messaging me on Tuesday night, and saying, ‘˜help me, my face is on the social escort websites’.‘He helped her make the police report, providing the links to the websites and details of other inflammatory comments.Miss Teo says: “There’s really nothing much that I can do. I deny, people also don’t believe me, so what’s the point?“I can keep clarifying but it’s quite pointless actually.‘Upset as she is, she does not regret the stint.She smiles, then says: “I had a chance to go on TV and I’ve already won the prize money, what’s there to regret?“And the more I react, it’s just going to make those people happy.‘

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