Reality TV can stir up a lot of opinions and emotions. A binge-worthy show like Love Island has you hooked for weeks and it becomes a part of your everyday schedule. Like clockwork at 9pm everyone tunes in and for a moment you really feel like you know these characters on the screen. While having an opinion on their behaviour is okay - hateful messages and trolling is not.
Tasha Ghouri is Love Island's first deaf contestant and uses a cochlear implant in her right ear. She spoke in depth about her super power, as she coins it, to Grazia before entering the villa. She said, 'When it comes to dating, before I meet someone, if I feel comfortable enough I do tell them about my hearing just so then it’s in their mind. It’s their reaction that’s the most important to me and I’ve had some reactions where they don’t understand and never hear from them again. She added, 'But that’s okay, it doesn’t affect me as I take it with a pinch of salt. Not everyone is open-minded.'
However, Tasha has been subject to a lot of ableist abuse from viewers who have trolled her for her disability. This also comes after the 23-year-old received backlash from fans after she revealed she was open to getting to now new bombshell Charlie, despite being coupled up with Andrew.
We have spotted a lot of vile tweets on Twitter making fun of her and it is just awful. Amongst the tweets were comments like, 'Tasha is so annoying someone should just rip her hearing aid of - I can't stand her voice either.' There are many other disgusting statements and much of which are too offensive to share.
The severe trolling has led to her loved ones speaking out. Taking to her Instagram page, Tasha's family wrote, 'Hey Everyone! We thank everyone for the love and support for our gal Tasha as we are behind her 110%. We understand everybody has opinions both negative and positive, but please could we avoid making fun of her superpower - let’s lead with love always.'
Fans also took to Tasha's defence on Twitter one user said, 'Nah I’m sickened at some of the people on Twitter making comments about Tasha and her being deaf. Some people are just disgusting man. #LoveIsland.' A second wrote,' If you don't like Tasha that's fine but there's no need for people abusing her because she's deaf #LoveIsland.'
The leaps and bounds Tasha has made for representation on Love Island is huge. Love Island and dating shows as a whole have always had a very slim view on what they define as 'conventionally beautiful.' It was also incredibly brave of her to speak so openly about her super power on the first day to all the Islanders. So, to see the disgusting hate and discrimination that has been spewed online makes it even more heartbreaking.
It is important for Love Island fans to remember that in each episode we see an hour of a 24-hour day. We don't know everything about the Islanders. We know of the characters meticulous editing has created, but we don't know everything. At the end of the day Love Island have to create a storyline - they need all the right characters (heroes and villains) and they need to create an entertaining show. You won't agree with everyone's actions and you certainly won't like everyone either, but that doesn't open the floor for such vile abuse - and making fun of someone disability is unforgivable.
Of course, with reality shows you react to what you see and you are allowed to have your opinions. Viewers talk for hours discussing the show with friends or podcasts but the trolling has got to a worrying level. We have seen past Islanders suffer with their mental health after leaving the villa and becoming overnight stars so, as always the need for compassion is paramount.