Masterchef‘s Reece Hignell has spoken out about Reynold Poernomo, defending his fellow cast member and saying he believes Reynold has changed in the days since his infamous homophobic spray.

In a series of resurfaced internet comments from 2014, Poernomo called homosexuality a mental illness and said that gay people are freaks who should be captured and put on an island.

Reece Hignell, who is gay, recently told The Daily Telegraph that he believes Poernomo has changed in the six years since. He said:

 “I trust when Reynold says he is different now. I am friends with him and know him and I believe what he said when he apologised. If you aren’t able to develop as a person, how will equality ever happen? My personal belief is that if Reynold wasn’t able to change his opinion over the last six years, then how are we going to change the world?” 

When commenting on a bodybuilding.com thread about a gay couple featured on the Disney Channel, he responded:

“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 [people] will be happy and the freaks can go on and fuck themselves.”

In another thread entitled “is homosexuality a mental illness?”, he responded: “Yes end of thread.”

Reece Hignell and Reynold Poernomo are among eight people currently remaining in the Masterchef kitchen.