TV feud: Firass calls Shannan a ‘redneck’


A war of words between Shannan Ponton and Firass Dirani has erupted with the actor calling the former Biggest Loser trainer a "redneck".

The two men are both contestants on Channel 7's SAS Australia and were shown clashing in Tuesday night's episode.

The following day, Ponton spoke to and said about Dirani: "I honestly believe that he's a sociopath in his behaviour."

Ponton said Dirani repeatedly disrespected or spoke back to the show's instructors (known as DS) and as a result all the other recruits were punished with physical tasks.

"Time and time again, we said, 'Listen mate, you've got to stop this behaviour.' And he said, 'What behaviour?'" Ponton told

"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.

Shannan Ponton on SAS Australia.
Shannan Ponton on SAS Australia.

"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 fired back at Ponton in an interview with 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."

He continued: "Feels like a redneck to me. Him and his followers. That's called a line in the sand."

Dirani, best known for his role on House Husbands and Underbelly: The Golden Mile, also had a crack at Ponton's tattoos.

"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."

Shannan Ponton is a former Biggest Loser trainer.
Shannan Ponton is a former Biggest Loser trainer.


Firass Dirani last week claimed he was being edited to appear as a "villain" on the show.

After the second episode of the Channel 7 show aired, Dirani posted a video on his Instagram story in which he said: "I knew it. I knew they were gonna make me into the villain. There has to be a villain, ladies and gentleman, and lo and behold, right here, this is it."

But in a chat with, SAS Australia directing staff Mark 'Billy' Billingham dismissed Dirani's claim and said: "He should be actually grateful to be edited the way they did. He's a lot worse than that."

According to Billingham, Dirani "came across as arrogant" and "had a terrible attitude".

"It came to the point where the rest of the celebrities were getting really fed up with him. That's not a showpiece - he really was messing up all the time and he could not keep his mouth shut, no matter what you said to him."

Firass on SAS. Picture: Nigel Wright
Firass on SAS. Picture: Nigel Wright

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Billingham told that Dirani "drew attention to himself for all the wrong reasons" and said the actor would constantly roll his eyes when being interviewed by the SAS Australia instructors.

"They've more than fairly edited him to be honest because he was a pain in the a**e," Billingham said. "I mean, he's a nice guy, don't get me wrong … but he's not a personality that you'd want to go out drinking with to be honest. He's a bit of a pain."



SAS Australia continues on Monday night at 7.30pm on Channel 7

Originally published as TV feud: Firass calls Shannan a 'redneck'