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ITV is facing backlash following a channel executive’s comments over including same-sex couples in Love Island.
Kevin Lygo, managing director at ITV, made the controversial comments while on a virtual panel at the Edinburgh TV Festival.
His comments revealed that the hit dating show would not be featuring LGBTQ+ couples anytime soon, asserting that the show was explicitly meant to be about heterosexual contestants.
Love Island is a particular thing. It’s about boys and girls coupling up, so if you want to do it as a gay version or you want to widen it, it is discussed and we haven’t yet found a way that would make it suitable for that show.
Lygo’s comments come after another ITV executive, Amanda Stavri, told Radio Times in June that introducing same-sex couples on the show would create to much ‘logistical difficulty’, saying that while the show was looking to ‘encourage greater inclusivity and diversity’, the prospect of same-sex couples would challenge the ‘format of Love Island’.
The comments made by Stavri and Lygo have caused outcry on Twitter, especially in the context of subsequent remarks made by Lygo about the show’s mental health considerations, in which he claimed Love Island’s safeguarding policies were the ‘gold standard’ and that contestants were ‘psychoanalysed to death now’.
‘Considering the alarming mental health and suicide stats attached to #LoveIsland, would argue that should be the concern of the producers, not the ‘logistics’ of same-sex couples,’ one person tweeted in response to Stavri’s comments.
‘I used to quite like Love Island, but then you realise it’s the same toxic s**t every year and calling same-sex couples ‘logistically challenging’ in 2021 is not what you want to be as a TV show,’ another wrote.
Following the outcry, an ITV spokesperson told The i Paper in a statement that ‘the point Kevin was making is that Love Island’s duty-of-care process includes thorough psychological and medical assessments during the casting process’.
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