This season there are not one, not two but four Black contestants on the OG lineup. Love Island producers have waved goodbye to the one token Black couple they so desperately wanted to make happen in the past.
Mental health extended duty of care
After the absolutely devastating passing of Caroline Flack and Mike Thalassitis, there have been countless reports of previous Love Islanders confessing to having suffered immensely with their mental health. Many report feeling like they had been ‘thrown to the wolves’ to cope with their newfound fame (or lack thereof) and the abuse and slander they experienced after was nothing they were prepared for, nor did they know how to find the right support. Loyal viewers of the show rushed to social media to hold Love Island Producers accountable for their apparent failed of duty of care. This year, ITV has claimed to listen and has published details of their “extended duty of care protocols.”
Hot topics in previous seasons include how language around marginalised groups was poor and inappropriate, as well as uncomfortable viewing. Examples range from contestant Sherif Lanre from season 5 getting kicked out of the villa for using an anti-feminist slur; the 25,000 complaints to OFCOM from viewers for Faye Winter’s from season 7 outburst to Black contestant Teddy Soares; Michael Griffiths of season 5 gaslighting saga to ex-partner Amber Gill (who went on to win the show without him) as well as the rhetoric of the ‘fiery Black girl’ thrown at basically every Black girl contestant in all seasons. This is amongst many other examples.
The Island first welcomed Hugo Hammond as the first-ever disabled contestant (he has a condition called clubfoot) but this year they are also including Tasha Ghouri who is Love Island’s first-ever deaf contestant. In order to create a safer, more welcoming, and empathetic environment Islanders on the forthcoming series will be offered video training and guidance around using “inclusive language around disability, sexuality, race, and ethnicity, behaviours and microaggressions.” The inclusion training will be offered prior to the contestants entering the villa, and will be provided by BCOMS (Black Collective of Media in Sport) founder Leon Mann MBE and including DEI (Diversity, Equity & Inclusion) consultant Hayley Bennett, disability specialist Shani Dhanda, and broadcaster Sean Fletcher.
Goodbye fast fashion, hello sustainability
As part of the show’s sustainability efforts, Love Island has announced a new partnership with eBay UK, meaning Islanders will wear pre-loved clothes this season, with a shared boys and girls wardrobe situated in the new villa for the first time ever. Under the guidance of head stylist Amy Bannerman and assistant Phoebe Schurings, Love Islanders have been allocated a luxe, high fashion and high street mix of which they can choose themselves or can be specially allocated to them by the stylist. Honestly, if we’re not tuning in for the one-liners, the banter, and the utter chaos this year, best believe we are tunning in for the fits.
Food challenges are done
Thankfully, producers are also getting rid of the food challenges due to the complaints from viewers. If we wanted to see people’s chewed roast dinners and a poor man’s version of bushtucker trial we would all be tuning in to I’m A Celeb instead. You asked for them to get out and they’re out. Not for any political reason, just simply because they’re gross.
Okay, so this is not anything we — the viewers — have been complaining about, and is purely for logistical purposes, as the previous villa is no longer available for bookings, however, ta-dah, there is a new villa. It’s refreshing to look at the new surroundings and we are only trully here for the interiors.
Whew, sounds like some good changes coming our way making 9pm prime time TV a little less of a guilty pleasure. Love Island seems to be going pretty hard on the changes we’ve all been requesting. Except that damn photographer (the one that does their promo shots) who Twitter claims must either hate the contestants or not be fed on set. What can we do though? Some things will never change.
Love Island airs Monday 6th June on ITV2 and ITV Hub at 9pm.