Former Love Island stars have opened up about their horrific experience with trolling in the wake of their appearance on the hit ITV2 show.
Yewande Biala and Marcel Somerville gave evidence in the House of Commons today as MPs probe the duty of care broadcasters have towards the young stars on their books.
They were supposed to be joined by 2015 contestant Chris Williamson, who has since pulled out to go on modelling job.
During their evidence, Marcel revealed he had been approached by producers back in 2016 to go in as a bombshell arrival – but turned it down because of the lack of diversity on the show.
“I’ve had an agent since I was young and Love Island contacted my agent, they wanted me to go on for the last two weeks of the show,” he told the committee.
“I didn’t think I wanted to go on as it didn’t look like a particularly diverse show – I didn’t want to be the first black person to go in as a bombshell, so I didn’t go on that year. The next year they approached me again and this time I went on.”
Marcel said the company he was working for at the time was threatening him with redundancy, which is why he snapped up the offer to go into the villa in the 2017 series as an original Islander.
But he claimed nobody from the psychological team had prepared him for his first coupling ceremony, which saw him left on the sunbeds as a singleton when none of the girls picked him.
“I had a tough first week, because at the initial start of the show the boys walked down, there’s five girls waiting and no-one stepped forward, I thought it was the worst day of my life. I thought, ‘you’re going home at the end of this week, no one likes me’. Then I developed friendships with everyone and then I thought I can definitely handle myself in here. When you watch that series you see my journey happening,” he told the inquiry.
The hearing was called by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, which is currently looking into the aftercare provided by reality shows after Mike Thalassitis and Sophie Gradon took their own lives.
Politicians are also examining the circumstances in which The Jeremy Kyle Show was cancelled in the wake of the death of contestant Steve Dymond, who took his own life after failing a lie detector test on the programme.
MPs will particularly be looking at the role producers play in influencing reality stars’ behaviour, how much mental health support is given, and whether recent reforms of aftercare – particularly by Love Island bosses – go far enough.
Yewande and Marcel are also discussing representations of race, gender and body image on reality TV shows.
Two former contestants who were on The Jeremy Kyle Show will appear at the select committee later to talk about their experience with producers on the programme.
Dwayne Davison, who was branded the most hated guest on the show, was shamed after his 2014 episode and even tried to overdose in order to escape the abuse…Continue Reading