'Love Island' receives a whopping 781 complaints within four weeks of premiere
Love it or hate it, there's no escaping the grips of 'Love Island'. The popular dating show has managed to attract the audience with not only its fleeting romances amongst the show's cast members, but also all the controversy it drums up each season. So, when 'Love Island' UK returned for its highly anticipated season 8, there was no dearth of drama.
The show premiered on June 6th, 2022, amidst much fanfare. But in less than four weeks since its premiere, the ITV show has been the subject of the audience's wrath as a record 781 complaints have reportedly been lodged against the hit British reality dating show. A spokesperson for Ofcom, a media watchdog in UK, told The Variety that the current season of the dating show has received a huge number of complaints and backlash from the audience. "So far we have received a total of 781 complaints about the current season of ‘Love Island'." The viewers were reportedly unhappy and concerned with the "the bullying on the show, contestants’ wellbeing and mental health, certain contestants getting more screen time than others and the age gap between contestants on the dating show,” the outlet reported.
At the center of all the drama is none other than 19-year-old Gemma Owen. The young Brit, who is famous for being the daughter of former England soccer star Michael Owen, managed to raise quite a few eyebrows when she decided to couple up with 27-year-old David Sanclimenti. The wide age gap between the two didn't sit well with the audience. Even though Gemma went on to recouple with someone who's closer to her age later in the show, the audience was still unhappy as they felt that the brunette beauty was getting way more screentime compared to her peers. Some 'Love Island' fans even began mocking the show as 'The Gemma Show' owing to the excessive focus on her.
While 781 complaints might seem like a huge number, it pales in comparison to the record 25,000 complaints the show's previous season earned. according to Page Six, 'Love Island' Season 7 drew a lot of flak from the audience for the portrayal of the argument between Faye Winter and teddy Soares.
The ITV show has made headlines in the past owing to the untimely deaths of former contestants Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis, and hostess Caroline flack, who all took their lives by suicide. The record number of deaths pushed the network to provide mental health services to all its cast and crew members. Though the representation of bullying, racism and public backlash that some of the contestants face on the show continues to plague the popular reality show.