If Love Island Producers Are So Worried About Being PC, Why Did They Allow Last Night’s Aftersun Show To Be So Problematic?

‘Love Island Aftersun has been on for ten seconds and the white guy is already talking about the length of Ovie’s penis’

Love Island: Aftersun

by Phoebe Parke |

It’s been an explosive week in Love Island world. First Yewande was dumped from the island as Danny coupled up with new girl Arabella, then Tom and Arabella were unceremoniously voted off the show by their peers, and this weekend saw the return of highly controversial Casa Amor – where 12 new islanders were sent in to tempt the original cast out of their semi-secure couples.

The Casa Amor plot twist had 2,500 Ofcom complaints last year as islander Dani Dyer was visibly upset over her relationship with Jack Fincham, and this season has already had its own set of complaints and controversies too.

Before the show had even started Love Island issued a statement about their renewed commitment to safeguarding the mental health of contestants after the deaths of Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis, with many other islanders speaking out about the impact being on the show had on their lives.

Perhaps in light of this, there seems to be a heightened desire to avoid any controversy this season, as Sherif was asked to leave the villa and edited out of the show after he kicked fellow contestant Molly-Mae in the groin in a playfight and then jokingly called it a ‘c--t punt.’

While the contestants seem to be being policed within an inch of their lives (No nudity! No more than two glasses of wine! No inappropriate language!) the commentators on Love Island: Aftersun seem to be allowed to say whatever they like.

On Sunday night’s episode, which was billed as a ‘showdown’ between Yewande and Arabella, the panel of commentators - Matt Richardson, Roman Kemp and Olivia Attwood - drew the scorn of viewers on Twitter as they launched into a dialogue about new boy Ovie at the start of the show.

‘Love Island Aftersun has been on for ten seconds and the white guy is already talking about the length of Ovie’s penis,’ wrote @TweetsByBilal, ‘Why are white men so obsessed with the size of black men’s penises? It’s so bizarre #LoveIslandAftersun’ added @jacquieotag, with writer @BeeBabs tweeting; ‘2 seconds into the show: I bet his penis is 9 metres long,’ add linking to a New York Times article titled ‘Last Taboo: Why Pop Culture Just Can’t Deal With Black Male Sexuality.’

If Love Island producers are going to have such a no-nonsense approach to sexist and racist language on the show – and rightly so - they should also hire Aftersun panellists who are able to contribute meaningful dialogue, without reverting back to tired stereotypes about black men.

Leaving the fetishization of Ovie to one side, the show then went on to try and ram home the sexist Yewande vs Arabella storyline, with Caroline Flack asking the pair if they planned on staying in touch with each other in the future, and what they thought of Danny inviting new girl Jourdan to sleep in his bed.

After being asked for the second time if she’d be friends with Arabella, Yewande chose to keep quiet and let Arabella answer, prompting headlines such as; ‘Love Island’s Yewande refuses to be reunited with rival Arabella Chi on Aftersun’ and ‘Love Island star Yewande's savage dig at Arabella as she snubs her on Aftersun.’

Why do we need so desperately for these two women, who have nothing in common but once liking the same guy, to play nice and be friends? And, in an age where conversations about sexism are being had every day, why does the show think it’s appropriate to try and play these ‘rival’ women off against each other for the public’s viewing pleasure?

It seems as though Love Island producers have been so busy censoring the contestants that they forgot to give the Aftersun commentators the memo.

READ MORE: What Are The Love Island Rules?

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Love Island Rules - Grazia

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When Sherif was first booted out the villa, rumours swirled that it was because he'd been caught masturbating in the shower. The Sun reported that he would 'spend hours' in there - however, they also said he wasn't necessarily masturbating. '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. All we know is 2 months without masturbating is a long time to go...

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When writing for Grazia, Zara McDermott revealed that she was most shocked to see Islanders is the 2019 series 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 in the last season.

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In a shock revelation on This Morning, 2017 Love Island winner Kem Cetinay revealed the real reason the show doesn't air on Saturdays. '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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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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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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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 their conversations become boring to watch, with 2017 contestant Montana admitting the villa is really dull day to day.

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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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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 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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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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Plus, they have to declare before going on the show if they have any sexually transmitted infections. With rumours Kem and Amber got in trouble last year for having unprotected sex, this rule seems to be even more integral now. 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. In 2018, 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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And they must be juicy. According to Montana, when she and fellow 2017 contestant Camilla were talking about hymns 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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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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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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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.Other than Sherif, the only villa removal we've seen because of rule-breaking was when Malia Arkian punched Kady McDermott back in season two, so it's clearly a big one.

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

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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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