Elle Ferguson and Joel Patfull’s close associates have hit back at Channel Nine after the couple sensationally quit The Block earlier this year.
The couple made national headlines over claims they quit the show after just 48 hours for ‘p**s poor’ reasons.
Elle, an influencer and tanning entrepreneur, and Joel, a retired AFL player, downed tools in April – just two days into filming – after his mother Trish fractured her neck during a fall at her home.
According to The Daily Telegraph, sources close to the couple say the pair ‘believe they have been used to stir up interest in Sunday night’s premiere’ and claim Nine have ‘stretched the truth’ surrounding their exit.
According to the publication, their ‘camp’ insisted there was more to the story.
‘(Nine) need this season to work as there’s a lot at stake,’ one sourced claimed.
‘Elle and Joel were the most high-profile talent on the show and they don’t have them any more, so they still need to find a way to incorporate them in their promos.’
They added: ‘It’s clear what Nine’s tactic is and, to be honest, it’s working for them.’
Sources hit back at a number of claims about the pair, including that the show wasn’t ‘on brand’ for them.
Their ‘camp’ said the pair were avid fans of The Block and ‘knew what they were in for’ while Elle has an interior design degree.
Sources also said Joel’s mother’s injury was more extensive than first thought and that she had bleeding on the brain.
Sources alleged the pair had a meeting with Block executive producer Julian Cress before leaving the show.
Another claim refuted by the couple’s camp was they fact they found the toilet paper ‘too scratchy,’ saying all contestants thought the same.
The show’s host Scotty Cam, 59, didn’t mince words and straight-up called their departure ‘un-Australian’.
He recently accused the pair of fleeing The Block in the middle of the night and giving no explanation for their departure.
He rubbished their excuse, telling News.com.au that while Joel’s mother did injure herself before filming began, this wasn’t the excuse the couple gave for throwing in the towel.
In fact, he claims, they didn’t give any excuse at all.
‘They didn’t give us a reason why they were leaving. They never mentioned anything to us about visiting their sick mother,’ the long-time host said on Tuesday.
‘We flew them to Adelaide before The Block started for a week, and put them up in a hotel so they could see [Joel’s mother], and they came back and said everything’s fine,’ he added.
‘They never spoke to us [about quitting]; they just left in the middle of the night.’
Scott went on to claim the couple ‘never mentioned’ Joel’s ailing mother ‘in the 48 hours before they left, or after they left’.
Speaking to TV Week on Monday, Scott also insisted The Block would have been prepared to temporarily shut down production to accommodate the couple’s visit to see Joel’s mother, if they had been made aware of the situation.
Scott previously said at the Logie Awards that Elle and Joel giving up so soon into the competition was ‘unAustralian’ and ‘p**s poor’.
He told TV Tonight: ‘We had a 48-hour challenge to choose the house that you get and they scarpered after 48 hours. It’s something that’s never happened before.’
‘Forty-five thousand people applied to be on The Block and win life-changing money. These guys got on and they just couldn’t handle the pace after 48 hours,’ he continued.
‘Which to me is a bit unAustralian! Have a go! It’s p**s poor.’
Scott reportedly told the other contestants Elle and Joel left because the renovation show wasn’t ‘on brand’ for them as Bondi influencers.
He also said they had complained ‘the toilet paper was too scratchy’.
Daily Mail Australia reached out to both Channel Nine and Elle and Joel for comment.
Their exit from The Block will be a major storyline in the first few episodes of the new season, which premieres Sunday, August 7, on Channel Nine and 9Now.