ITV boss says appearing on Love Island was not to blame for Mike Thalassitis' death

European budget airline easyJet Chief executive Carolyn McCall, from Britain, poses during the ceremony for the opening of the new Easy Jet base at Nice airport, southern France, Wednesday, March 21, 2012.(AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)
European budget airline easyJet Chief executive Carolyn McCall, from Britain, poses during the ceremony for the opening of the new Easy Jet base at Nice airport, southern France, Wednesday, March 21, 2012.(AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)

The Chief Executive of ITV, Dame Carolyn McCall, reacted to claims that former contestant Mike Thalassitis’s death was related to his time on ITV show Love Island as “extremely tenuous.”

McCall was quizzed about by the Broadcasting Press Guild about the level of support offered to reality stars after appearing on the hit ITV2 programme, following the deaths of Sophie Gradon and Thalassitis.

Ms Gradon, 32, was found dead in June last year, after appearing on the 2016 series of the show, while Mr Thalassitis, 26, died this month.

McCall said that the deaths were "devastating" for the Love Island team because "they're with people for nearly 10 weeks of their lives and they know everybody personally.”

Read more: Love Island to offer ‘bespoke training’ to all future contestants

Following the deaths of Gradon and Thalassitis, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said reality TV shows have a duty to care for contestants after they become famous.

Some former Love Island contestants criticised the level of care they have received since leaving the show.

McCall, who, prior to her role at ITV, spent seven years as easyJet Chief Executive, said that ITV does “everything it can” for contestants following the show, but that this care “can’t be indefinite.”

Read more: Love Island’s Jack Fincham on mental health battle

She went on to say: “We did have a duty of care.

“We had clear ­processes and procedures.

“I don’t think anybody has made a direct link between what happened to Mike and Love Island, and that is very important to say.

“It would be an extremely ­tenuous thing to do given he was very happy on Love Island and all of his mates have ­actually said that, and he has done two other reality TV shows in the two-year gap.”

Government mental health adviser Dr Paul Litchfield has been brought in to independently review the show’s procedures for caring for its reality show contestants.

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