The Block contestants Luke and Jasmine have hit back after being accused of copying one of their room designs by judge Shaynna Blaze, saying they are just “everyday Aussies” and haven’t broken any rules.
Taking to Instagram on Tuesday night after the show aired, Luke and Jasmine posted a lengthy statement defending their room and saying it was not against the rules to take inspiration from another design.
“Okay…. so our side of the copygate saga,” the pair wrote. “We were just working happily on our kitchen when Shaynna popped in to give us a slap on the wrist for copying. Our faces said it all, we were in shock. All week we were showing our moodboard which featured the room from the @designory (among others). We were open in using it and believed it was all above board.
“In 2017 Block contestants went through a similar ordeal with their kids room. They got a perfect score and won the room. Then were later accused of copying by other contestants. At the time, a channel 9 spokesperson stated “The only rule is that contestants don’t enlist the help of a professional interior designer. There is no limit on the boundaries to which contestants can take an inspiration image and draw on latest trends for their rooms”.
“So this is our understanding of the show ‘rules’ with regards to copying. Rules, which we haven’t broken. We know that other contestants this season have copied images for their rooms. We hope it adds as much value to their house as possible.
“We are all everyday Aussies, none of us experts in design and if we need the help of Pinterest and Instagram then we are allowed to use it freely within show rules, as much or as little as we like. In House 4 we set out to create an on-trend home and there will always be current design trends that feature in homes built at the same time, by people who scroll the same feeds as us.”
The impassioned defence came after judge Shaynna Blaze took the unprecedented step of accusing the WA couple of cheating – after awarding them a perfect score days earlier.
Luke and Jasmin received three 10s from the judges for their bedroom and bathroom reveal back in Sunday’s episode, a win that saw them pocket $10,000.
While she gave a them perfect score, Blaze briefly remarked that their effort – a super-cute jungle-inspired kids bedroom, complete with bunk bed – felt similar to a bedroom former Block contestants Kyal and Kara had recently designed and posted online. The rooms did share a passing resemblance.
But by Tuesday’s episode, Blaze had figured out their true source of inspiration. It made for a tense first face-to-face meeting during what was meant to be a casual walkaround with Scott Cam to hear how each team was getting on in the competition.
“Can I hang around? I just want to speak to Luke and Jasmin about a couple of things,” Blaze said to Cam, prompting nervous looks from the couple.
Blaze told the couple she’d done “a little fishing” in her own time after judging their room, and presented them with a picture of a children’s bedroom that looked near-identical to theirs, from an Inside Out magazine photo shoot:
The room in question is in the ‘Barefoot Bay Villa’ in Byron Bay, created by The Designory and featured on their company website and the property’s AirBnB listing, as many viewers have pointed out on social media since Sunday’s episode.
Jasmin freely admitted the shoot had been the “inspiration” for their room.
“I showed everyone that picture while we were filming, saying it was my inspo. It wasn’t a secret,” she said.
“You’re calling it inspiration. Inspiration is one thing. Completely taking someone’s idea and making it your own is another,” said Blaze.
“We’re in a competition, and you won a room where you make money. You haven’t changed it up enough.”
Luke and Jasmin then went through the room pointing out elements they created or designed themselves, but Blaze was firm – their efforts were “not enough”.
“You think of the foundation of your room and the foundation of this room: Spotted wallpaper, bunk, animals, saffron, Aztec, grey, white sheer. The only difference is how you put those elements together,” she said.
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“It’s not fair on the other contestants that you get to win a room (using) some professional designer. You’re actually making money out of someone else’s designs.”
Both parties had more to say to the cameras after their tense first meeting.
“It’s not fair on the other contestants that they can win a room, with money, on someone else’s ideas,” Blaze told producers.
She also took the debate to Instagram to explain her position.
“We’re living in the world of Instagram and Pinterest so it’s inevitable that sometimes the lines blur between ‘taking inspiration’ and direct copying,” the design guru wrote.
“It’s imperative that we all consider other designers’ intellectual property rights when we are designing for profit, which is why I had to have tonight’s difficult conversation with House 4 about their kids room and its many similarities to a room designed by @thedesignory for @barefootescapes.
“Please don’t direct any negativity towards Jasmine on social media, and instead let’s all take a look at our own appreciation of design and other designers, and our personal understanding of the difference between imitation and plagiarism.”
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Back on the show, Luke and Jasmin defended themselves in a to-camera interview.
“If you scroll on Instagram, everyone’s doing the same f***ing thing. Everyone’s doing arches, everyone’s doing curves. We’re original – as original as the next house doing it five doors down,” said Jasmin.
“To come across as a copycat is probably the biggest insult you can receive on The Block. We’re really affected by what Shaynna said. Everything in that house has been our heart and soul,” said Luke.
Jasmin said the feedback had “ruined” their win.
“I feel like I don’t deserve it now. Do you think she regrets giving us a 10? I think she does.”
Fellow judge Darren Palmer also said he wished he knew “what the viewer knows” while judging on social media after the show.
And The Designory, the company Luke and Jasmin are accused of ripping off, shared footage of their own bedroom design alongside a caption telling viewers to tune into The Block to see “the greatest form of public flattery that ever lived.”
The issue won’t go away any time soon, as word spreads among the rest of the contestants during the next episode that they lost to a room a judge now considers a rip-off …
The Block continues 7.30pm Wednesday on Nine
Originally published as The Block’s most controversial room