Women’s Aid has confirmed it is in talks with ITV after viewers of Love Island expressed concern over “misogyny and controlling behaviour” demonstrated by some of the show’s male contestants.
The hit ITV2 dating show has been airing six nights a week since the launch of its eighth series in June.
It's a really positive move for us to be in discussion with the team at @LoveIsland about how we can work together moving forward, to address the issues and concerns raised. Thank you to our followers on Twitter for reaching out to us about this. #EndAbuseTogether
— Women's Aid (@womensaid) July 18, 2022
The domestic abuse charity Women’s Aid recently revealed it is being tagged in “a stream of Twitter posts” by Love Island viewers who are worried about the way female islanders are being treated by some of their male partners.
After receiving information about the broadcaster’s inclusion training for the show, the charity said it has discovered that “specific information on abusive relationships and an understanding of controlling behaviour in relationships” appears to be missing from the guidelines.
Viewers of the show have taken to social media to express specific concerns about the behaviour of 23-year-old islander Luca Bish, who repeatedly accused his partner Gemma Owen of “flirting” with fellow islander Billy Brown, despite Owen, 19, insisting she had no interest in Brown, 23.
Dami Hope has also received criticism for his treatment of Summer Botwe, who he slammed as “fake” after sharing a three-way kiss with her and another islander during the Casa Amor element of the show – where the original islanders were separated into male and female villas and introduced to new “bombshell” contestants.
In a statement, the charity’s head of communications and media relations Teresa Parker, said: “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.
“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.
“It is vital that producers know when to intervene and challenge unacceptable behaviour. Women’s Aid has offered to help, and we want to assure people tagging us into posts that we are in conversation with ITV and the Love Island producers about what we can do moving forward to help address this.
“We have a new campaign called ‘Come Together to End Domestic Abuse’ about the role everyone has to play in ending abuse. ITV can play an important role here, by dealing with something that is clearly an ongoing issue for the show, and at Women’s Aid we want to help where we can.
“Thank you to viewers who are raising concerns with us, and be assured that we are listening and speaking to the team at Love Island about the issues raised.”
— Refuge (@RefugeCharity) July 19, 2022
Domestic abuse charity Refuge also expressed concerns via Twitter, writing: “Refuge is increasingly concerned about the misogynistic and abusive behaviours being displayed in this year’s series of #LoveIsland,” before adding a statement from the charity’s CEO Ruth Davison.
In response to the criticism from viewers, a statement from ITV said: “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.
“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.
“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.”