Love Island criticised by women's charities after men's 'abusive' behaviour

·4-min read
Photo credit: ITV
Photo credit: ITV

Women's rights and domestic abuse charities have spoken out about the treatment of women on Love Island.

Fans have been gripped by the drama of the ITV2 dating show this series, but have also criticised the male contestants' "misogynistic and controlling behaviour".

In recent episodes, Luca Bish fumed at his partner Gemma Owen for 'flirting' with Billy Brown, even though she denied any interest in him.

Jacques O'Neill was also criticised for his behaviour and comments towards Paige Thorne who he labelled as "pathetic" during his time on the show.

Photo credit: ITV
Photo credit: ITV

Related: Love Island star Jacques O'Neill admits he knew Cheyanne before the show

Davide Sanclimenti has labelled Ekin-Su Cülcüloğlu a "liar" and "fake" on multiple occasions after she kissed George Tasker, even though Davide also kissed Coco Lodge in Casa Amor.

Meanwhile, Dami Hope was criticised for calling Summer Botwe a "fake" but avoided telling her he was in a three-way kiss while coupled up with Indiyah Polack.

With the growing audience reaction on Twitter calling out the men's behaviour, Women's Aid has responded to the situation.

The women's charity described the on-screen behaviour as "controlling" before revealing that they are in talks with ITV about their duty of care for relationships.

“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, told Metro.

Photo credit: ITV
Photo credit: ITV

Related: Love Island sees fan-favourite couple hit the rocks

"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."

She continued: "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."

Parker urged ITV to "intervene and challenge unacceptable behaviour" when it presented itself and offered help to address the issue on the show.

ITV responded to the charities' concerns and agreed that the "welfare" of their Islanders is their "greatest concern".

Photo credit: ITV
Photo credit: ITV

Related: Love Island star Paige Thorne's family defend her actions following Jacques exit

"We cannot stress highly enough how seriously we treat the emotional well-being of all of our Islanders," the statement began.

"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.

"Ahead of this series, contributors on the show were offered video training and guidance covering inclusive language around disability, sexuality, race and ethnicity, behaviours and microaggressions."

It concluded: "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."

After Women's Aid's comments were released, domestic violence charity Refuge also expressed their concerns about the dating show.

Photo credit: ITV
Photo credit: ITV

Related: Love Island's misogyny this year is worse than before

The charity's CEO Ruth Davison released a statement on their social media that reads: "Refuge is increasingly concerned about the misogynistic and abusive behaviours being displayed in this year's series of Love Island.

"Love Island has a huge audience, particularly amongst young people, and Refuge urge the producers of the show to recognise and respond to abusive behaviour when it happens. Popular culture has an important role to play in challenging these behaviours rather than perpetuating them."

She continued: "Gaslighting and emotional manipulation are types of behaviour that can be displayed by perpetrators of domestic abuse. Coercive control is a form of domestic abuse and is a crime.

"That this behaviour appears to be carried out by some men in the villa and broadcast as entertainment is extremely troubling and should be called out."

Photo credit: ITV
Photo credit: ITV

In another tweet, the charity added: "The double standards, gaslighting and coercive control being displayed by the men in the villa is hugely problematic."

Davison added that the charity is pleased to hear that Women's Aid is on-hand to support the show and Refuge hopes to be included in this discussion in the future too.

Women's Aid previously issued a warning over controversial former Islander Adam Collard's return to the show.

During the 2018 series, Collard was accused of gaslighting some of the Islanders including Rosie Williams. He ended up apologising to Rosie, and after his exit, extended an apology to viewers of the show.

If you've been affected by any of the issues raised in this story, organisations including Refuge (www.refuge.org.uk) and Women's Aid (www.womensaid.org.uk) can provide further support and information.

Love Island airs on ITV2 and is available via catch up on ITV Hub and Britbox.

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