‘Love Island’ Attracts 3,000 Complaints in a Week to U.K. Media Regulator on Alleged Misogyny

Popular ITV show “Love Island” has attracted a total of 3,617 complaints in a week to U.K. media regulator Ofcom.

The most number of complaints, 2,481, were received on July 17, related to alleged misogynistic behavior by some of the male contestants during the show’s movie night. This was followed by 413 complaints on July 18, related to alleged bullying and misogynistic behavior from some of the male contestants.

Earlier, on July 15, Ofcom received 167 complaints, the majority of which were related to footage of contestants Ekin-Su Cülcüloğlu and George Tasker, who left the show on July 7, during ‘Casa Amor,’ the show’s relationship test. And, on July 12, the majority of the 129 complaints received related to contestant Adam Collard entering the villa, and fellow contestant Jacques O’Neill’s wellbeing in the lead up to and during his departure from the villa on that day.

“We are assessing the complaints against our broadcasting rules, but are yet to decide whether or not to investigate,” an Ofcom spokesperson told Variety. Ofcom has no threshold for the number of complaints required for an investigation, as a large volume of complaints doesn’t automatically mean the regulator’s rules have been broken.

Many contestants in shows like “Love Island” are not used to being in the public eye and in 2020, Ofcom introduced a range of protections for them, with particular emphasis on mental health and wellbeing, which broadcasters are required to comply with. The 2021 edition of “Love Island” was the first to be broadcast under these new rules. Ofcom received 36,324 complaints about that series across a range of issues. These were assessed and none of them raised issues requiring the regulator to take further action.

“We cannot stress highly enough how seriously we treat the emotional well-being of all of our Islanders. Welfare is always our greatest concern, and we have dedicated welfare producers and psychological support on hand at all times, who monitor and regularly speak to all of the Islanders in private and off camera,” an ITV spokesperson told Variety. “At the same time, we also have a duty of care towards the Islanders, none of whom have any means of defending themselves against these highly damaging labels, as well as a duty of care towards their next of kin, and we are naturally concerned that this could provoke a negative response on social media.”

“Ahead of this series, contributors on the show were offered video training and guidance covering inclusive language around disability, sexuality, race and ethnicity, behaviors and microaggressions,” the spokesperson added. “We are always looking at how we expand and evolve on this training to ensure that all of our Islanders feel they are part of a safe and inclusive environment.”

ITV also stood by “Aftersun” presenter Laura Whitmore after the episode of “Love Island” spin off “Aftersun” on July 17 received 427 complaints related to comments made about Cülcüloğlu, and the treatment of O’Neill during his interview.

“Laura is the presenter of the show, and part of that role is to pose questions to the panel and discuss events in the Villa. We do not condone trolling against either our host or our Islanders and any subsequent elevation of these comments,” the ITV spokesperson said.

“We had various measures in place to ensure Jacques’ welfare was prioritized at all times ahead of and during his appearance on ‘Aftersun.’ This included a full briefing with show producers to outline the show’s content and likely questioning, a conversation with Laura before and after the show was recorded, and chaperoning from both a welfare producer and a member of his family while he was in studio,” the spokesperson added. “Should an Islander not wish to participate in the ‘Aftersun’ recording, we would always respect that decision.”