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Love Island has come under fire this week, with viewers and women’s rights groups publicly calling out the male Islanders’ “misogynistic and controlling” behaviour.
Women’s Aid and Refuge both released statements, and the UK’s communications regulator, Ofcom, reported 3,600 complaints.
A total of 3,617 complaints were made about Love Island in a week, with 2,481 reportedly lodged after Sunday’s controversial movie night and the subsequent behaviour.
Luca Bish, 23, was at the centre of the controversy after he accused his partner Gemma Owen of flirting with fellow contestant Billy Brown, with viewers warning that he was displaying signs of misogyny and gaslighting.
“Luca laughing at the boys’ behaviour while simultaneously being fuming at Gemma for SPEAKING to another man?” tweeted one viewer. “The misogyny of this year is wild. Luca needs to get on a flight home and couple up with Jacques.”
His family have since apologised on his behalf, stating: “We as his family don’t condone his behaviour last night, but we do understand he is in an intense environment where his emotions are heightened. Last night was not reflective of the boy we all know and love at home.”
Other male contestants who sparked concern were Davide Sanclimenti for repeatedly calling partner Ekin-Su Cülcüloğlu a liar and Dami Hope, for branding his ex partner Summer Botwe “fake”. It is reported the 413 people complained about the behaviour and alleged bullying by male contestants on Monday night’s episode.
There were also complaints made to Ofcom about Sunday’s Aftersun show, with viewers reportedly concerned for the treatment of ex-islander Jacques O’Neill in his exit interview, as well as the comments made about Ekin-Su.
Ofcom explained that it was “assessing the complaints against our broadcasting rules, but are yet to decide whether or not to investigate”.
Domestic abuse charity Women’s Aid has also publicly called out the misogynistic behaviour on the show, confirming that they were in talks with Love Island producers to improve the show’s duty of care.
“At Women’s Aid we are being tagged into a stream of Twitter posts, with viewers of Love Island highlighting the misogyny and controlling behaviour being shown on screen,” Teresa Parker, head of communications and media relations at Women’s Aid, explained to Metro.
She continued: “This is clearly more than talking about any individual contestants, and a programme based around the formation of romantic relationships must have guidelines on what behaviour is acceptable and unacceptable in those relationships. We are talking to ITV, and they have shared with us information on their inclusion training, but what appears to be missing is specific information on abusive relationships and an understanding of controlling behaviour in relationships.”
“The misogyny and casual sexism witnessed on this series of Love Island is extremely concerning,” added women’s rights group, Refuge. “The double standards, gaslighting and coercive control being displayed by the men in the villa is hugely problematic.”
We will continue to update this story.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, the 24-hour National Domestic Abuse helpline