'I Wanna Marry Harry' Impostor Matthew Hicks Defends Female Contestants Like a True Prince

I Wanna Marry Harry is one of the most buzzed about shows of the summer. In case you've managed to avoid a description, it's a reality dating show with a Joe Millionaire-esque twist: 12 American women were whisked away to Europe to compete for the love of a mysterious English gentlemen. Sounds tame enough? Over the course of the show, the women are led to believe that the redhead with the dashing smile whose heart they're competing for is actually Prince Harry. Yes, apparently they fall for it.

Viewers (or soon-to-be hate watchers, anyway – the show premieres Tuesday on FOX) were quick to jump on the bullying bandwagon, taking to Twitter to deride the women on the show as idiots. How, they asked, could anyone mistake Matthew Hicks (pictured above), the impostor who poses as "Harry" on the show for the actual prince (pictured below)? Sure, they've both affable gingers with British accents, but identical strangers they're not. Was it possible that American women really knew so little about one of the most recognizable men in the world?

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In fact, in an interview with E! at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards, Hicks himself fielded that question when a female reporter stated with an uncomfortable laugh, "It's a little disheartening that American women are not the smartest in the world." Maybe his time on the reality show did him some good though, because Hicks replied to the comment-posing-as-a-question with prince-like valiance.

It was a confusing situation and they were, the whole process was extremely elaborate to bring them around to that way of thinking so, don't blame it on the girls.

I can't believe I'm about to say this, but thank you, Prince Harry impersonator Matthew Hicks, for being a decent human being. Does it confound us, as outsiders, why 12 adult, presumably competent women could be tricked into thinking Hicks was actually Prince Harry? Sure. Of course it does. But we're not sequestered on a reality television set where everything that happens is intended to perpetuate that lie.

It's not as though the women dated Hicks under normal circumstances, meeting his real friends and experiencing his real life. They were flown to a secluded English estate where hired staff called Hicks "Sir" and professional bodyguards followed him everywhere. And, frankly, it's refreshing to have this acknowledged by the "star" of the show before it even airs.

Maybe Hicks just needed to clear his conscious. After all, he'll double as leading man and villain on the series, which hinges on duping a dozen women who were, ostensibly at least, looking for love (and realistically, their 15 minutes of fame as well). Whatever the motivations of the female contestants, the premise of I Wanna Marry Harry is a hoax. It's a joke and these 12 women are the punchline. Without assigning undue blame to Hicks, his part in the prank is clear. He might not have pitched the show, or even sought it out (producers contacted him after seeing his photo on a celebrity lookalike site), but he did sign on to be treated like royalty and clamored after under false pretenses. His decision to do the series at all earns him douchebag points, no doubt about it.

But it looks like he actually walked away from the experience with a healthy amount of remorse for what he put the contestants through. They surely experienced heartache and humiliation when the truth was revealed on the show, and now they'll get to relive it all for a national audience as the show airs. Let's take a cue from Not-Harry and cut them a little slack. They're the victims of an elaborate plot to humiliate them for Americans' fleeting entertainment. To quote budding feminist Matthew Hicks: "Don't blame it on the girls."

Image: Fox