Domestic Abuse Charities Issue Statements on Love Island’s “Misogynistic Behaviour”


This week’s “Love Island” was always going to be controversial, with movie night showing clips of the Islanders in Casa Amor and fans eager to see the reactions. Yet the explosive episodes have been called out by domestic abuse charities, Women’s Aid and Refuge.

Sunday night’s “Mad Movies” episode saw Luca Bish accuse Gemma Owen of flirting with Billy Brown despite her protests that no lines were ever crossed. Davide Sanclimenti also repeatedly called Ekin-Su Cülcüloğlu a “liar”, even though he was filmed kissing two other girls during Casa Amor. And Dami Hope was questioned on social media for gaslighting Summer Botwe and branding her “fake” when she detailed the romantic extent of his chats. Jacques O’Neill’s conduct had previously been challenged before he left the villa.

On 18 July, UK-based domestic violence charity Refuge tweeted that the behaviour they had witnessed on the show was “extremely problematic”. Ruth Davison, Refuge CEO, told POPSUGAR UK: “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 urges 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.”

Referencing the action from this week, in particular, Davison continues: “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 being carried out by some men in the villa and broadcast as entertainment is extremely troubling and should be called out.”

“Popular culture has an important role to play in challenging these behaviours rather than perpetuating them.”

In addition, domestic violence charity, Women’s Aid, has revealed it is in talks with ITV to work with them after being tagged in a number of Tweets from concerned viewers. “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,” Teresa Parker, head of communications and media relations at Women’s Aid, told Metro.

Following Sunday’s episode, Bish’s family released a statement on Instagram apologising for his insensitive reaction to the films. They wrote: “We as his family don’t condone his behaviour, but we do understand he is in an intense environment where his emotions are heightened. Last night was not reflective of the boy we all know and love at home.” They went on to explain they had received death threats, which is completely unacceptable and why we must all remember to be kind on social media.

This follows fellow Islander Tasha Ghouri’s father who spoke out this week against some of the horrendous, ableist abuse he’s seen online.

ITV confirmed in a statement to POPSUGAR UK: “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.”

For help and support visit you can access free and confidential support from 1800RESPECT’s 24-hour hotline, which offers national domestic, family and sexual violence counselling, information and support service. You can also seek digital support via live chat on the 1800RESPECT website.

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