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Sure, Love Island might have finished a few weeks ago, but you’ll likely remember that bullying saga which saw Ofcom receive nearly 2,500 complaints and producers promise to review the show.
It happened on July 17th during the “Movie Night” episode, where fans took to social media to comment on certain of the boy’s “misogynistic [and] bullying.. behaviour.”
Just two episodes later, near 2,000 more complaints rolled in as male contestants Dami Hope, Luca Bish and Davide Sanclimenti left female contestant Tasha Ghouri in tears during a challenge.
There were calls for action to be taken about the “emotional abuse and coercive control” by certain male Islanders, including when Davide Sanclimenti called Ekin-Su Cülcüloğlu a “liar” after she cosied up with another male – despite him having kissed two other women himself. Some fans even called male contestants out for negging – that’s using insults and derogatory comments as a means of flirting.
Charities including Women’s Aid and Refuge condemned the behaviour, yet it’s taken Ofcom a month to respond to the complaints. Yesterday, they confirmed that they won’t be pursuing any further enquiries.
They said in their official report that the “negative behaviour in the villa was not shown in a positive light.”
An Ofcom spokesperson said, “We carefully assessed complaints about this series on a range of issues including alleged misogynistic and bullying behaviour. We recognise that emotionally charged or confrontational scenes can upset some viewers. But, in our view, negative behaviour in the villa was not shown in a positive light.
“We also took into account that the format of this reality show is well established and viewers would expect to see the highs and lows as couples’ relationships are tested.”
The entire show garnered around 8,000 complaints in total, meaning these two incidents caused roughly half of the complaints across the month-long season.
That said, Ofcom stressed that the magnitude of complaints doesn’t automatically mean an investigation will be started.
This comes as presenter Laura Whitmore announces that she’ll be stepping down from the show.
Some have called for ITV to be more responsible with their broadcasting and how they choose to edit certain episodes. Speaking at The Edinburgh Fringe festival, ITV’s managing director of media and entertainment Kevin Lygo said that the crew make sure to have “rigorous controls” in place to protect contestants who have appeared on reality TV shows, confirming that “physiologists are involved”.
What do you reckon – should more be done to make sure contestants are protected on the show?