Love Island Fans Are Worried About Joe Garratt’s Mental Health After His Possessive Behaviour Was Called Out Online

If you’re not up to date with Love Island, be warned there are spoilers ahead…

Joe Garratt Lucie Donlan

by Georgia Aspinall |
Updated on

In last night’s Love Island, Joe Garratt was voted out of the villa by the public. Leaving behind his ‘half-girlfriend’ Lucie Donlan, he left to an online world that will no doubt come as a shock. Not only because of the amount of people that called out his controlling behaviour in the villa, but also because he was unaware of it himself while before leaving.

From what we’ve seen of Joe – which to be clear is 45 minutes of edited footage from a 24-hour day – he repeatedly told Lucie that her very normal, healthy behaviour cast doubt in his mind about them. From her lack of enthusiasm about committing to him on the first to her platonic friendship with Tommy, he demonstrated possessive and controlling behaviour on more than one occasion, which is classed as emotional abuse under the 2015 Serious Crimes Act.

This was rightly called out online, with Women’s Aid making a statement about how positive it was that people becoming more aware of the warning signs of abusive behaviour. ‘Controlling behaviour is never acceptable, and with Love Island viewers complaining to Ofcom in record numbers about Joe’s possessive behaviour towards Lucie, more people are becoming aware of this and want to challenge it,’ said Adina Claire, co-chief executive of the charity.

‘Abusive relationships often start off with subtle signs of control, so it’s important that it is recognised at an early stage,’ she continued, ‘Love Island viewers are now very vocal in calling out unhealthy behaviour between couples on the show, and this is a positive development.’

They never labelled Joe an abuser – which some commentators have implied online – but simply expressed hopefulness that viewers of the ITV2 show, whom are largely 18-34, are becoming better versed in recognising behaviour that can lead to an abusive relationship. However, as it was revealed by The Sun that Joe was sent to a ‘safe house’ after leaving the show (where producers could explain the backlash to him) fans are now expressing concern online about the level of commentary on he received. In particular, brandishing it ‘irresponsible’ that a professional organisation such as Women’s Aid has commented on the show, worried it will in turn impact Joe’s mental health.

‘I understand you have good intentions, but to label a young man an “abuser” based off a few minutes of edited Television is irresponsible,’ one user replied to Women’s Aid statement

‘Genuinely worried for Joe coming out and seeing all the abuse he’s getting,’ another Twitter user said, ‘Really hope he’s mentally strong and I hope ITV ensures there is sufficient support for him. No one deserves that level of abuse/ hatred.’

‘Unpopular opinion: the producers really did Joe and Lucie dirty you have to remember you only see a few minutes out of the 24-hour day, they could have deliberately made out Joe to be controlling,’ a third added, before referencing how upset Lucie was to see him leave, ‘Look at Lucie’s mental health now.’

It seems that viewers are becoming more aware of just how contrived the editing process of these shows can be, and realising that trolling another human being online is not necessarily healthy for that person. After the deaths of two Love Island contestants in the past year, viewers are increasingly aware just how detrimental online abuse can be after leaving a show like Love Island.

Yet, there also seems to be huge conflation between trolling or abusing someone, and calling out unhealthy behaviour that is ultimately detrimental to others (and more often, women). For example, one tweet stated, ‘getting bantered on the TL is part & parcel of going on Love Island & that’s fine, but the negligence shown by people & organisations with responsibility to be labelling him an “abuser” knowing these accusations tarnish a person’s life have me scared of Joe’s reaction now he’s out.’

There is, of course, a level of responsibility that comes with powerful organisations commenting on someone’s behaviour online, but that’s exactly why responsible organisations have not labelled him abuser, which Women’s Aid didn’t - not least because of the legal ramifications of doing so.

Further to this, there also seems to be huge confusion around Lucie’s reaction, with many assuming her tears mean Joe can’t have been as controlling as he came across. ‘Truthfully I think the way Lucie reacted to joe leaving shoes how much the love island producers really have manipulated the way joe is perceived. Poor lad,’ one commentator said, to the tune of 5,000 likes.


Love Island Rules - Grazia

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You can’t masturbate

With rumours swirling that Sherif was booted from the villa for masturbating in the shower, The Sun reported that he would 'spend hours' in there - however, he wasn't necessarily masturbating himself. 'When producers told Islanders they have to get ready to film a challenge, Sherif was deliberately spending ages in the shower. He said he couldn't be bothered,' the source said. Avoiding challenges or participating in some healthy self-care? All we know is 2 months without masturbating is a long time to go...

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You have to shower at certain times

When writing for Grazia Daily, Zara McDermott revealed that she was most shocked to see Islanders showering in the morning. 'We could only use the shower each evening,' she said of last season. Spending all day in the sun without a morning shower? No wonder Amber was worried about smelling when she Michael went to kiss her last night.

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You can’t talk about your relationship on Saturday's

In a shock revelation on This Morning, 2017 Love Island winner Kem Cetinay revealed the real reason the show doesn't air on Saturday's. 'They give you one day off. You get one day off per week,' he said, 'What happens is, it gives them a day to clean the villa, and you take your mics off, and normally we go to the beach.'But that wasn't the only startling revelation, he also admitted that producers watch Islanders like a hawk because they're not actually allowed to discuss their relationships. Essentially, anything they have to talk about their home lives outside the villa, lest they be scolded for breaking the all important rules.

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You can only have two glasses of wine or beer on a ‘big night’

They get dressed up, put on a full-face of makeup, film awkward dance sequences, and all for two little glasses of wine or beer. According to 2016 Islander Liana Isadora Van-Riel, 'you're allowed one or two drinks a night, either wine or beer, no spirits.'And while contestants will opt for two drinks on a 'big night', most nights they just have a cup of tea. Wild.

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You can’t be naked ever, even in the bathroom

Since the villa is technically a public space, there can be no nudity whatsoever as it would be considered public indecency. That means even in the bathroom, islanders can never be completely naked in front of each other.

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You can’t read a book or magazine

We knew about the no phone rule, which makes sense given they don't want Islanders reading about themselves online or hearing updates from the outside world, but no books or magazines?! No wonder half of them end up stir crazy, with 2017 contestant Montana admitting the villa is really boring day to day.

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You have to eat at certain times

According to Montana, contestants can make their own breakfast but lunch and dinner is always catered. In fact, food is brought through a secret door. 'In the larder there's another door that goes out the back that they lock,' she said, 'That's how they deliver food.'It's long been a question why we never see the Islanders eating, but Montana stated that's when producers come in and charge the contestants microphones, insisting 'everyone wants that good because it's so yum.'

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You can’t take your mic off ever

One of the most serious rules in the villa, contestants aren't allowed to take their mic's off apart from on Saturday's, their off day. If you're caught doing it more than once, you'll be axed from the villa immediately, according to The Mirror.

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You're not allowed to know the time

You essentially have to become a full Girl Guide in the villa if you want to know the time, telling it through the sun. Because, Islanders aren't allowed to know themselves and all of their phones are set to different times. 'You never know what the time is,' 2017 contestant Montana told The Independent, 'They'll wake you up by putting the lights on or a voiceover will say "Islanders, it's time to get up".'

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You can’t smoke in the villa, even in the garden

Last year, Love Island stopped showing scenes where contestants were smoking after complaints they were all partaking in the habit too much. Now, Islanders aren't allowed to smoke on the premises at all, even in the garden.

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You can't have unprotected sex

With rumours Kem and Amber got in trouble last year for having unprotected sex, this rule seems to be even more integral this year. Discussions around sex on Love Island have snowballed massively as the seasons become more and more popular each year. While early seasons saw Islanders getting busy almost every night, in the same room with scenes often aired every episode, sex has become much more taboo - when it comes to airing it at least. Last year, producers decided to stop airing sex scenes, as well as the Islanders smoking. Given the slut-shaming many female contestants receive upon doing the completely natural act it's unsurprising.

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You have to go for scheduled chats

And they must be juicy. According to Montana, when she and fellow 2017 contestant Camilla were talking about hymms they like, producers intercepted and told them to spice it up ('that's not interesting', they said). In fact, producers will also intervene to ensure certain people talk, but the conversation itself is not necessarily staged. 'They might be like, "Camilla, pull Montana aside and ask how she's feeling about Alex"', Montana admitted.

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You’re not allowed to get waxes

It's long been wondered how the contestants keep up with their beauty routines in the villa, with not a bumpy bikini line or stubbly chest in sight. Do contestants have waxers brought in to the villa? Absolutely not, according to Montana. While the women in her season requested wax strips to do it themselves, they 'all had bruising' and so resorted to shaving, with Montana insists 'most people' do.

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You absolutely cannot have drunken sex

A huge villa no-no, drunken sex is completely off the cards for Love Island contestants. Given that they're allowed two wines or beers on big nights and most of them sip on tea all night, we're not sure that's a huge risk, to be honest.

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No inappropriate language or behaviour

One of the actually non-weird rules, contestants are completely prohibited from 'innapropriate language or behaviour'. While it's quite a broad, and subjective, phrase, the rulebook applies it to racial slurs, homophobia and aggressive language. Plus, sexual harassment and physical violence is included in this rule.One of the biggest swirling rules about Sherif's ban is that he and Anton got into a heated argument. Given that the only other villa removal we've seen because of rule-breaking was when Malia Arkian punched Kady McDermott back in season two, it's high on the list of likely reasons Sherif was banned.

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They need to keep the complete rule book at all times

All of these rules must not only be obeyed at all times, but contestants must also keep the rule book in their possession too - just in case they forget about the whole no masturbating thing.

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No discriminating against staff

Another non-weird rule, contestants aren't allowed to be rude or discriminatory to staff or else they will be booted off.

While it could of course be true that Joe was edited to encourage a negative perception of him, his comments to Lucie were nonetheless worrying. And we know that abusive relationships are complicated ones – we should be careful not to forget that many victims of abusive behaviour are infatuated or in love with the person attempted to control them. That is exactly why the behaviour is so toxic; it creates dependency. While we shouldn't hastily label Joe an abuser, we also shouldn't assume that Lucie's tears mean his behaviour was justified.

It goes without saying that Love Island contestants shouldn’t be trolled or abused online, and that their Love Island persona doesn’t necessarily reflect their true character – which Joe’s friends have argued on his Instagram. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be calling out worrying behaviour on ITV’s most popular TV programme, especially given it’s largely younger audience.

We all should demonstrate responsible commentary online, whether someone is on a TV show or not, and while it’s hopeful to see that people are more aware of this, it doesn’t change the fact that calling out abusive behaviour is integral to raising awareness of domestic abuse, which still results in two women being killed every week on average. For the men and women who are now more aware of the warning signs because of the commentary of Love Island, this could help save lives – we can only hope that Love Island practice their duty of care towards Joe ensure he remains safe too.

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