'Back off': Jess Rowe defends SAS 'villain' Firass Dirani

Gillian Wolski
·Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
·4-min read

Jessica Rowe has defended her former co-star Firass Dirani who has been copping flack for his behaviour on Channel 7’s gruelling reality TV series, SAS: Australia.

The ex-Studio 10 host fired back at claims that the House Husbands actor, 36, is the show’s ‘villain,’ arguing that he’s a “gorgeous guy” with a “good heart”.

Jess Rowe wearing a red dress and silver star necklace
Jess Rowe has come out in defence of SAS: Australia 'villain,' actor Firass Dirani. Photo: Instagram/jessjrowe.

“I want to stand up for Firass, for number 11,” Jess, 50, declared during a chat with Kyle & Jackie O on Thursday morning.

“I hate being shouted at and I would be just like Firass in terms of going, ‘Don’t talk to me like that,’” she added.

Jess, who appeared on The Real Dirty Dancing with Firass in 2019, asked viewers to “back off” and bear in mind the editing that goes on behind the scenes on programs such as SAS.

“Let’s remember that this is a reality TV show and they’ve got to make it entertaining.

“They’re making him out to be a villain and he’s not.”

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Firass Dirani on SAS Australia 2020
Firass has been slammed by viewers and his SAS co-stars for his behaviour. Photo: Channel 7.

Firass ‘rubbed people the wrong way’

Jackie O wondered if Firass might throw in the towel just like several of his fellow celebs due to the show’s harsh conditions but Jess was certain her friend would pull through.

“I don’t think he will [quit], he’s really strong,” she said.

Firass’s SAS Australia co-star Eden Dally, however, told very a different story in an exclusive chat with Yahoo Lifestyle.

“Look I’ll tell you first hand some shows edit a lot of things in and out,” he said.

“[In SAS] what you see on the TV is actually what happened.”

This flies in the face of claims by Firass, who after the show went to air accused Channel Seven of painting him out to be the ‘villain’.

“I knew it. I knew they were gonna make me into the villain,” the actor said in an Instagram story. “There has to be a villain, ladies and gentleman, and lo and behold, right here, this is it.”

Eden, and others, beg to differ.

“I don’t think Firass is as bad as they’re saying but he did do all those things,” the new dad said. “[For example] when we were jumping out of the helicopter he said ‘that is a piece of p*ss’. That’s something the DS doesn’t want to hear. If its a ‘piece of p*ss’ then they’ll make it harder.”

“He rubbed people the wrong way and what they’re showing is actually a true reflection of what happened,” he added.

Jess Rowe (front) and Firass Dirani (blue shirt) on set of The Real Dirty Dancing in 2019.
Jess (front) and Firass (blue shirt) both appeared on The Real Dirty Dancing in 2019. Photo: Channel 7.

Contestants and fans slam Firass

Eden’s comments come off the back of a savage takedown of Firass by irate fans of the show and fellow contestants.

Former Biggest Loser trainer Shannan Ponton told news.com.au that the actor never took responsibility for his behaviour which he called ‘infuriating’.

“It was as infuriating as it was confusing,” Shannon told the outlet. “At no stage did he ever assume responsibility for his actions. At no stage did he say sorry.”

Viewers felt similarly, taking to Twitter to express their shock at Firass, who in one episode ended up in an altercation with a fed-up Merrick Watts, who begged him to stop talking back.

“Firass looked like a naughty child, back chatting to his dad,” a commenter wrote.

“Firass and his attitude may have eclipsed COVID as my least liked thing of 2020,” another said.

Back in camp, Merrick fired back at Firass, telling him: “We’re f***ing sick of this sh*t,” going on to call him out for being “disrespectful” to the staff.

In a piece to the camera, Firass said: “Authority – I have a problem with it. Especially if they’re shouting at me. Commanding things of me. I don’t know if that really sits well with me it’s never sat well.”

With additional reporting by Penny Burfitt.

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