MasterChef star Khanh Ong has thrown his support behind fellow contestant Reynold Poernomo, just days after his homophobic Internet posts resurfaced.
Khanh, who is openly gay, told New Idea that Reynold, 26, deserved to win this season because of his commitment to bettering himself as a chef.
‘If it’s not me, then I really hope Reynold wins, because he deserves it,’ Khanh said.
‘He’s put in the all the hard yards’: Openly gay MasterChef star Khanh Ong, 26, (left), says he hopes Reynold Poernomo, 26, (right) wins the show
‘He’s put in the all the hard yards, he has travelled the world and worked for free at amazing restaurants just to learn,’ he added.
It’s unclear if Khanh’s interview with New Idea was conducted before or after Reynold’s past homophobic views were exposed on Friday.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Channel 10 for comment.
Khanh’s support may come as a surprise to fans, given the vile nature of Reynold’s 2014 online forum posts calling gays ‘freaks’ and ‘mentally ill’ and suggesting that they be ‘put on a remote island’.
This season, gay rights activist Khanh has been wearing T-shirts in every episode promoting the ‘you are loved’ message promoted by LGBTQI youth charity, Minus18.
‘He deserves it’: Khanh told New Idea magazine that he believes Reynold should win this season because of his commitment to bettering himself as a chef
He even titled his forthcoming debut cook book, A Gay Guy’s Guide to Life Love Food.
It comes after Reynold’s shocking homophobic posts were exposed by Daily Mail Australia last Friday.
He made the posts on bodybuilding.com forums in 2014, just months before bursting onto screens in Season 7 of the hit Australian TV show.
Loud and proud: This season, gay rights activist Khanh has been wearing T-shirts in every episode promoting the ‘you are loved’ message promoted by LGBTQI youth charity, Minus18.
Under a thread titled ‘First gay couple featured on the Disney Channel. Do you agree with them?’, Reynold – using the profile name ‘reyreyy’ – offered a shocking response.
‘I wish the world made a united decision where they will capture all gay people and put them on a remote island full of gays, that way straight ppl (people) will be happy and the freaks can go on and f** themselves,’ the then 20-year-old wrote.
That comment was followed by another on a thread titled: ‘Is homosexuality a mental illness?’
Shocking: It comes after Reynold’s shocking homophobic posts (pictured) were exposed by Daily Mail Australia last Friday
‘Yes end of thread,’ Reynold responded.
The forum posts are likely to shock several of the ‘dessert king’s’ fellow MasterChef contestants, several of whom are openly gay or lesbian.
In a statement to Daily Mail Australia through Channel Ten, Reynold said he was now ‘deeply ashamed’ of the comments and is ‘not the person I was back then’.
Making headlines: On a bodybuilding.com thread titled ‘Is homosexuality a mental illness’, the then 20-year-old wrote: ‘Yes end of thread’
‘I would like to offer my sincere and deepest apologies for the comments that I made in 2014. I am ashamed of these comments and I regret them immensely,’ he said.
‘At the time these comments were made, I was a very immature, close-minded and insular 20-year-old. I have grown and matured a lot in the last six years. I am not the person I was back then.
‘I have many friends and colleagues that are part of the LGBTIQ+ community. I wholeheartedly support them and care deeply for them. I am truly sorry and apologise for any offence or hurt I caused.’
Network Ten did not respond to questions put to it about whether Reynold would be reprimanded or counselled.
Brendan Pang, Khanh Ong, Reece Hignall and Courtney Roulston – who are currently contestants on the show – have all previously been open about their sexuality.
Apology: In a statement to Daily Mail Australia through Channel 10, Reynold said he was now ‘deeply ashamed’ of the comments and is ‘not the person I was back then’