Sherif Lanre explains why he was booted off Love Island and accuses ITV of ‘unconscious racism’

Danny Thompson
Former Love Island contestant Sherif Lanre (credit ITV)

Love Island’s Sherif Lanre has accused ITV of ‘unconscious racism’ after he was removed from the show for making a crude joke when he accidentally kicked Molly-Mae between the legs.

The 20-year-old has finally broken his silence after he left the island on Tuesday and issued a statement saying he had ‘broke villa rules’. Speaking with the Sun on Sunday, Lanre revealed he accidentally kicked fellow contestant Molly-Mae in the crotch during a play fight, before turning to Tommy Fury and saying ‘That was a c*** punt’.

Read more: Love Island: What rule did Sherif Lanre break to get axed from the show?

Describing the incident, he said: “I did kick Molly-Mae in the groin area but it was an accident and she 100 per cent was not injured afterwards.

“She flinched and bent over to protect herself. Then she stood up and seemed fine and we started laughing about it.

“I turned to Tommy Fury and said, ‘That was a c*** punt.’

“I’ve never used the word before and don’t know where it came from. I think I’ve heard other people saying it and it just popped out.

“I know I have been stupid and let myself down but I was not being malicious.

“This has been blown out of all proportion and I have been made to look like a terrible person when I am not.”

He added: “I’ve been stupid and let myself down. I have never used the word before and I realise how insulting it is to women.

“As someone raised by a strong and loving mother, I want to say that I would never intentionally offend women.

“I was completely wrong and I apologise.”

He went on to say he was treated like ‘a criminal over a simple mistake’ and suggested he was kicked out of the villa because he was black.

Read more: Sherif Lanre’s exit only briefly mentioned during Love Island

He said: “I was the only black man in the villa and I was kicked out after ten days.

“In my opinion, what happened was unconscious racism.

“There was, I felt, sexism. I feel I wouldn’t have been given that red card if I was a white woman.”

Facing accusations of ‘unconscious racism’ A Love Island spokesperson told “We would strongly refute any accusation of racism. All of the Islanders are treated fairly and in accordance with our duty of care.”

Love Island continues tonight at 9pm on ITV2.