Friends of reality-TV star Jordan Mauger say the backlash against him following his breakup with the winner of The Bachelor is unfair and "out of control".
Last night, Fleur Verhoeven announced on TV3 that Mr Mauger had ended their fleeting relationship just two days after the show's finale.
The news led to many people condemning him for what he had done.
After a day of intense media coverage and public scrutiny of Mr Mauger, three childhood friends stepped up to support him.
Actor Will Hall said he had been surprised and disappointed at the backlash.
"I can't and I am not speaking for Jordan, but from my seat on the couch -- and after knowing the guy for years as a down-to-earth bloke with good family values -- I'm a tad surprised at how he's being vilified on social media.
"My interpretation is that now the fairy-tale show is over, the soundtrack has stopped and the fancy dates and exotic locations have finished, Jordan genuinely didn't see a future with Fleur. Surely we all agree you can't force love?"
Although Hall felt for Ms Verhoeven, he said it was important to view the situation with perspective.
"In a different setting, it would be a guy ending something with a girl he has been on a handful of dates with.
"No breakup is ever easy, especially one under the intense scrutiny of the public, and I'd just like to hope people are taking into account the feelings on both sides of this one."
Another friend, photographer Sarah Ivey, said "public slamming of Jordan had swung completely out of control".
In a post on Facebook in which she tagged Mr Hall and another friend, Sarah Nutt, she said: "We know who he is, where he comes from and the values he holds dear to him. Jordan has been our friend since childhood and he's always had our backs. He's been falsely portrayed and enough is enough, it's gone too far."
Ms Nutt, meanwhile, said she had woken this morning "to a Facebook feed full of hateful comments and death threats about our dear friend Jordan".
"I'm struggling to understand how on earth things have gone so belly up and why so much hate surrounds him.
"He is a human, just like us, and he deserves to be treated with respect, which I feel hasn't been shown throughout the post-show publicity."