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"He's a culture vulture": Firess Dirani slams Shannan Ponton on SAS Australia

"He's a culture vulture": Firess Dirani slams Shannan Ponton on SAS Australia

Two contestants from SAS Australia are bickering in the media, with Shannan Ponton and Firass Dirani clashing publicly on the show.

After the pair had a disagreement in Tuesday night's episode, Ponton spoke to news.com.au about Dirani, saying he's a "sociopath".

“I honestly believe that he’s a sociopath in his behaviour," Ponton explained.

Fans haven't liked Dirani's behaviour as he often clashes with the show's instructors, which result in intense physical punishments of his fellow recruits.

This was a sticking point for Ponton.

“Time and time again, we said, ‘Listen mate, you’ve got to stop this behaviour.’ And he said, ‘What behaviour?’” Ponton told news.com.au.

“It was as infuriating as it was confusing. At no stage did he ever assume responsibility for his actions. At no stage did he say sorry.

“Some of the girls said to him, ‘Firass, all we want is an apology for what you did to us today,’ and it was never forthcoming. Even at the end, he never assumed responsibility for what he’d done. It was always some weird, inarticulate way to put together some story that didn’t make any sense.”

Dirani wasn't about to take those claims lying down and hit back with an interview in the Daily Mail.

“I find it strange where this vile aggressive labelling behaviour is coming from?” Dirani told the publication. “I suspect there’s more prejudice against me than I imagined.”

 “Feels like a redneck to me. Him and his followers. That’s called a line in the sand.”

Dirani took things one step further with his comments, saying that Ponton was a "culture vulture".

“What’s with his Maori tattoos?” Dirani said to the Daily Mail. “You’re embarrassing a whole culture. You are not worthy of such ancestral powerful artwork. You don’t even fall on the coat-tails of such warriors. You culture vulture.”

The "culture vulture" comment comes after Ponton has Maori tattoos on his arms despite not being of Maori descent. 

Ponton has spoken about his tattoos before, saying he thinks that Maori people are "beautiful".

"On my right shoulder, I have the Maori tattoo, which is the symbol for family. I think the Maori people are so beautiful and their philosophy on family means everything to me," he explained to The Celebrity Whisperer.

Aussie journalist Jessica Rowe defended Dirani, saying he has "such a good heart" and reminded fans that at the end of the day, it is a TV show. The pair worked together on Channe 7's show The Real Dirty Dancing.

“Let’s remember, it is a reality TV show,” Rowe said. “They’ve got to make it entertaining.

“When they edit things they want to have particular storylines so we’re not seeing absolutely everything. And obviously, when you are sleep-deprived and you have to sit in freezing water and run a long way because Firass is mucking around thinking it’s funny, you would be annoyed,” she said. “However, he’s a great guy. They’re making him out to be a villain that he’s not.”.