'Married at First Sight' expert Dr Pepper: The Chris Williams we're seeing now isn't the Chris we cast, matching him was a "bad call" -- no excuses
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 02/22/2021
Married at First Sight expert Dr. Pepper Schwartz insists the Chris Williams viewers are seeing now on the show is not the Chris she and her fellow experts had cast for Season 12 -- although matching him with Paige Banks was a "bad call" and there's no excuse for it.
Pepper took to Instagram on Thursday with a lengthy statement about the experts' decision to put Chris on the show. Pepper quickly deleted her post soon afterwards, but screenshots were captured by @mafsfan Instagram account.
"As many of you know, this season of #MAFS included a match that has turned out to be both disappointing and, often, offensive to myself and the viewers," Pepper captioned her slideshow of comments, according to the screenshots.
"I wanted to make sure you all could have some of the context that I do for why this man was allowed to participate in our program. No excuses: it was a bad call."
"But please," she continued. "if you are upset about this match, take a minute to read my words and see how seriously we vet these people before matching them and how much I empathize with all of those at home who are horrified by Chris's actions."
Married at First Sight viewers have been lashing out at Chris and scolding show experts Pepper, Pastor Calvin Roberson and Dr. Viviana Coles for casting him ever since MAFS's twelfth season, which was filmed late last summer in Atlanta, premiered in January on Lifetime.
The Married at First Sight season has shown Chris repeatedly boasting about himself and his accomplishments, making offensive and sexist remarks about wife Paige Banks, discussing his high expectations of a woman's physical looks, constantly talking about sex, and marrying a stranger only three months after ending his engagement to a woman he still continued hooking up with after their split.
In addition, Chris appeared to discover his ex-fiancee, Mercedes, was about six weeks pregnant with his child at the beginning of his Las Vegas honeymoon with Paige.
Pepper wrote in her statement, "I am appalled at some of the things he has said and done. I don't know how many of our statements to him make the final cut (for me or anyone else) -- but no one is giving Chris a 'pass.' I can understand however, if you don't think it's enough."
"But our role is different from your role. We give honest feedback but not everyone can listen and use our insights and critiques to be a better person. It's also true that we can tell Paige what we think is in her best interests (i.e. cut all interaction) but that doesn't mean that she agrees with us and wants to end the relationship."
Pepper acknowledged Paige "is an adult" and was able to make her own choices about her marriage to Chris.
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"[She was] a person determined to see this experiment through, and she considers what we say, but she does what she wants to do. But does a lot of it break my heart, as much of it has broken yours? Do I understand your disgust? Of course I do," Pepper explained.
"We must take responsibility for this match -- but I assure you the Chris we all see now, is not the Chris we met and married to Paige."
The Married at First Sight expert continued, "I wish we knew how to get to the core of someone's intent and their ability to love all the time, but we cannot."
"What we have done however, is, over all these seasons, try very hard to make good matches and great relationships -- and we do take pride in the many marriages, and families, that we have put together that are worthy and lasting."
Pepper admitted it doesn't seem possible to obtain a perfect record in matching pairs of strangers for matrimony on a reality TV show, but she insisted the experts do the absolute best job they can.
"We tell everyone that truth -- that this is a high-risk endeavor, even with three trained professionals matching the couples and giving them support all along the way. But we are not relationship wizards; there will be some failures," Pepper wrote.
"However, we think the many life enhancing successes we have created justify the continuation of Married at First Sight."
On how Chris made it through the matchmaking process, Pepper recalled, "We do a lot of in-depth research on people. Not only do they fill out long questionnaires and have several interviews with all three of us, plus producers, there is also an outside, independent psychological firm that gives tests to applicants at two different times."
Pepper said the show also hires a "forensic researcher," who looks "for any legal infractions in the last ten years."
"We also look a decade back for social media posts that might disqualify someone. All this is to say that if someone gets past all this and turns out to be a bad fit for this process, they have fooled A LOT of people," Pepper insisted.
"One reason we think this can happen is that all of this is in-depth but not necessarily happening when a person is UNDER stress. People do change -- a lot -- when threatened or disappointed."
Both Pastor Cal and Viviana have expressed similar sentiments about Chris in recent weeks.
"No way that the person you see is the person that we saw... The cameras came on and Chris became this different person. We were just as surprised and pretty pissed as you guys are," Pastor Cal said during a recent appearance on Atlanta's 96.3 WHUR radio show called The Frank Ski Show with Nina Brown.
And Viviana told The Associated Press in an interview, "There have been couples who we thought were 100% -- as much as we can say that, on paper, side-by-side [and] meeting them single -- head over heels in love with each other, and they were explosive, nasty, really degrading."
Viviana added, "[They'd] be having conversations that made us think, 'Who are these people?'"
Chris has also received backlash for having sex with Paige twice after their wedding despite telling production and her bridesmaids that he wasn't physically attracted to her.
In addition, Chris was shown screaming at co-stars Erik Lake and Virginia Coombs in the latest Married at First Sightepisode after he believed the couple had invaded his privacy and inappropriately butted into his personal affairs.
Paige, however, decided to continue her relationship with Chris despite an extremely rocky first week of marriage, including a shocking revelation from Chris that he still loved his ex-fiancee and briefly considered getting back together with her.