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Most Controversial TV Shows: Love Island's affair with suicide, depression and 'brainwashed' contestants

Popular reality show 'Love Island' seems to be a magnet for controversies, after three people associated with the show committed suicide and a former contestant blamed the show for 'ruining' her life
UPDATED MAY 18, 2020
Caroline Flack, Zara Holland and Olivia Attwood (Getty Images)
Caroline Flack, Zara Holland and Olivia Attwood (Getty Images)

'Love Island' may have made its debut in 2019 in the US, but people in the UK are way too familiar with the hit reality show. Every year thousands of youngsters go through grueling screening sessions to make it to the popular reality show. But is all the hype and glitz surrounding the show justified? A close look at the show and its participants may leave you second-guessing if this entertaining yet addictive reality show is as harmless as it seems to be.
When Caroline Flack, the hostess of UK 'Love Island' committed suicide earlier this year, she became the third person associated with 'Love Island' to commit suicide. Before her, contestants Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis had taken their lives after appearing on the hit reality show. While appearing on this popular reality show is a sure-shot way to achieve fame and success, the downside involves being subject to public scrutiny and endless trolling. Unfortunately, it took the showrunners some time to realize it and make mental health care among the show's cast members a priority.
Former Miss Great Britain Zara Holland, who appeared on 'Love Island' blames the show for ruining her life. Zara appeared on the show in 2016. During her stint on the show, she performed oral sex on one of her fellow contestants. Later, when the clip was aired, Zara was stripped off of her pageant title, saying that she "did not uphold the responsibility expected of the title".

Zara's life was never the same after she appeared on the show. In an interview with the Daily Mail, the former beauty queen revealed that she was on anti-depressants and regularly attending therapy sessions. She said, "That show screwed me up. I blame it for everything. What it does to the contestants is terrible." She claimed that she was "brainwashed" while on the show, and also expressed that the mental health support provided after the show was "minimal".

Zara Holland attends the "Bridget Jones's Baby" world premiere at the Odeon Leicester Square on September 5, 2016 in London, England (Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

We may assume that people go on 'Love Island' with the hopes of finding love, but not all participants who appear on the show come looking for love. Take for instance Olivia Attwood, she appeared on the show in 2017. She has been extremely vocal about her intentions of appearing on the show and it has nothing to do with love. Olivia, like many other people, saw 'Love Island' as a quick ticket to fame, and appeared on the show just to get some quick launchpad to her career in the glamour world rather than in the hopes of finding her one true love.
The show has also come under fire for promoting unrealistic and unhealthy body image among its impressionable and young audience. All the contestants on the show have extremely well-chiseled bodies and perfect tan that leaves the gullible audience feeling uncomfortable and questioning about their own bodies. The Independent reported an interesting research study that showed the impact of such reality shows on youngsters.

According to a survey of 4,505 adults carried out by YouGov, almost one in four people aged between 18 to 24 say that watching reality television makes them feel worried about their bodies. Almost a quarter of the 18 to 24-year-olds surveyed said they have experienced suicidal thoughts and feelings due to the way they feel about their bodies.
The show not only lacks body diversity, but it also lacks diversity in general. The black female contestants on the show have had to leave the show early on or didn’t receive enough screen time because they had no suitors on the show. All the men on the show, seemed to be drawn towards light-skinned, blonde-haired, and lithe-bodied women. In an interview with MailOnline, Samira Mighty, a former contestant on the show, described herself as a "token black woman" and claimed that it wasn't easy for black women on the show.