Love Island contestant Ollie Williams has denied he is a "trophy hunter" after photos of him with dead animals surfaced when he was announced as a participant on the programme.
Williams quit the show, which launched on Sunday, in scenes aired on Wednesday as he told his fellow Islanders he still had feelings for an ex.
Before he entered the villa, there were calls for him to be removed from the line-up after he was pictured smiling alongside dead wild beasts. In addition, a listing on Companies House showed Williams to be the director of Cornish Sporting Agency Ltd, a business specialising in “hunting, trapping and related service activities”.
The 23-year-old said in a statement to The Mirror: "Having left the Love Island house I have become aware of the press stories circulating in the UK. I would like to make a number of comments on the various claims and accusations.
"I had no knowledge of the stories until I had left the Love Island villa and all cast members are unaware of any news stories while they are on the programme.
"My reasons for leaving Love Island are as communicated on the show. I did not shoot any of the animals shown in the photographs nor have I ever shot as a trophy hunter. I did volunteer to take part in the conservation and anti-poaching programme in Mozambique, a part of which involves old or sick animals being culled. I was there as an observer."
He continued: "The Cornish Sporting Agency was set up in 2017 and has never traded. I feel very passionately about conservation and will continue to support sustainable conservation causes around the globe. These benefit the natural world and the animals which live within it, even if certain elements appear controversial when viewed out of context.
"As I am no longer in Love Island, I will comment no further on this issue."
His participation in the series prompted over 200 complaints to broadcasting watchdog Ofcom and a petition campaigning against his appearance on the show reached 40,000 signatures, receiving support from environmentalist Chris Packham.
While there was some press and fan speculation that he had been made aware of the reports written about him while still a participant, the show shut down such suggestions, with a spokesperson saying he made the decision to leave "off his own back".