Love Island viewers have hit out at the show, demanding producers step in over what they say is Joe Garratt’s ‘abusive’ and ‘controlling’ behaviour toward Lucie Donlan.
The 21-year-old contestant broke down and sobbed on camera as Joe told her was close with boys in the villa but should maybe make an effort with the female contestants.
He said: ‘You’re very very close to all the boys individually, but now I think it’s time maybe to get close with the girls.’
Viewers criticised Joe as ‘manipulative’ after he told her to spend more time with the women rather than her friend Tommy Fury.
Adina Claire from domestic abuse charity Women’s Aid has warned that ‘abusive relationships often start off with subtle signs of control’ as fans lodged 302 complaints with broadcast watchdog Ofcom.
Ms Claire said: ‘Controlling behaviour is never acceptable. With Love Island viewers complaining about Joe’s possessive behaviour towards Lucie, more people are becoming aware of this and want to challenge it.’
Hard times: 302 complaints have been received about the treatment of surfer girl Lucie Donlan, 21, by the other contestants
Complaints came in relation to the treatment of surfer Lucie by other Islanders after she was reduced to tears after a row with Amy Hart.
Shows face further scrutiny following the suicides of three reality contestants. The government’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee opened an inquiry into reality TV surrounding ITV in May.
MPs said: ‘The inquiry will consider production companies’ duty of care to participants, and ask whether enough support is offered both during and after filming, and whether there is a need for further regulatory oversight in this area.’
It follow the tragic deaths of Steve Dymond, 63, after appearing on the Jeremy Kyle Show and Sophie Gradon, 32, and Mike Thalassitis, 26, who both killed themselves after appearing on Love Island.
Crude: Love Island has received almost 800 complaints from media watchdog Ofcom after Maura Higgins’ racy behaviour and attempts to kiss Tommy Fury were slammed by fans
Ofcom received a further 800 complaints in just two days about Maura Higgins’ ‘predatory’ behaviour towards Tommy Fury.
The media watchdog has received 794 complaints since Friday alone, 486 of which relate to Maura’s actions – as she attempted to plant a kiss on Tommy while lying on top of him – which many viewers branded ‘desperate’ and ‘crossing a line’ on Twitter.
On Friday viewers saw Maura, 28, desperately try and kiss Tommy, 20, having been determined to win over the boxer.
Whilst Tommy dodged her attempts at seduction, the undeterred model later stared directly into his eyes and asked him if she ‘turned him on.’
The Irish star’s behaviour did not sit well with many fans who took to social media to criticise her behaviour.
One said: ‘Maura lying on top of Tommy trying to kiss him is giving me the boak #LoveIsland’
Another added: ‘Lmaoo love Tommy pieing off Maura and getting into bed with Molly Mae #LoveIsland.’
A third wrote: ‘Maura is getting a little desperate there; imagine it was a man forcing himself on a woman like that, double standards like.’
Raging: Since Friday the watchdog received a total of 794 complaints, 486 of which were related to Maura’s display, which many viewers branded ‘desperate’ and ‘crossing a line’
Awkward: Viewers admitted they have found Maura’s pursuit of Tommy ‘cringeworthy’ as she continued to vie for his affections on the show
Toy-curling: Maura’s brazen approach to landing Tommy in the villa has stunned many fans, especially when she asked him if she ‘turned him on’
While another said: ‘Maura crossed a line with the whole kissing debacle. There’s a being forward and there’s… leaning forward on top of a guy who says no to a kiss.’
One joked: ‘If Maura lays it on any thick with Tommy she’ll need a trowel. #Mollyfilla #LoveIsland.’
An angry fan also tweeted: ‘I’m sorry, but if a guy had done what Maura is doing in the villa he would be classed as a sexual predator!!!!! Not right! Get her out! How many times does a guy have to say now!’
‘Maura forcing that kiss on Tommy omg somebody call 911 on this predator,’ another furious fan posted.
Following several fruitless attempts, Maura finally landed a kiss with Tommy during Sunday’s show, as they smooched during a Bridezillas challenge.
But the grid girl did not succeed in magically winning over the hunk, as he went onto choose Molly-Mae Hague, 20, in the recoupling.
Upset: More viewers heavily criticised Maura’s behaviour, with almost 500 viewers complaining to Ofcom
Too much! Following several fruitless attempts, Maura finally landed a kiss with Tommy during Sunday’s show, as they smooched during a Bridezillas challenge
When contacted by MailOnline a spokesperson for Love Island said: ‘We take the emotional well-being of all the Islanders extremely seriously.
‘We have dedicated welfare producers and psychological support on hand at all times who monitor and regularly speak to all of the Islanders in private and off camera, especially if someone appears to be upset.
‘All the Islanders are therefore fully supported by the professionals on site and by their friends in the villa. This means Islanders are always able to reach out and talk to someone if they feel the need.
‘We will of course continue to monitor all of our Islanders in line with our robust protocols. Love Island holds a mirror up to relationships and all the different dynamics that go with them.’
A source close to Joe added: ‘Joe is a great guy and you can tell how much he genuinely likes Lucie. Any suggestion online that he has been ”gaslighting” is unfair, you can see he only wants the best for Lucie and their time together in Love Island.”
Inappropriate? But the grid girl did not succeed in magically winning over the hunk, as he went onto choose Molly-Mae Hague in the recoupling
A representative for Ofcom said: ‘We will assess these complaints against our broadcasting rules, but are yet to decide whether or not to investigate.’
Ofcom holds the power to fine broadcasters who breach its rules and say the fine is dependent on the size and turnover of the firm – fines can reach an upper limit of 10% of the broadcaster’s turnover.
ITV was issued the largest fine of any broadcaster in 2008 when Ofcom charged them £5.68m for their abuse of premium phone lines on shows including Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway and Ant and Dec’s Gameshow Marathon.
Controversial: With her daring approach to landing Tommy, Maura has divided many fans
On June 25 ITV boses, Dame Carolyn McCall, Chief Executive, Sir Peter Bazalgette, Chairman and Chris Wissun, Director of Content Compliance will be called in front of DCMS Committee to provide evidence.
DCMS Committee Chair Damian Collins MP said they were particularly interested in what presenter Jeremy Kyle himself had to say.
Mr Collins said: ‘We’re hoping that Jeremy Kyle will take this opportunity to come and answer questions about measures taken to prepare and support contestants.
‘As someone who was at the centre of this long-running show, we believe that his perspective on reality tv will be of particular value to our inquiry.’
The committee added: ‘The evidence session is expected to focus on how The Jeremy Kyle Show exercised duty of care towards participants and the wider issues facing reality TV shows, such as ITV’s Love Island, including the support offered during and after filming and how procedures are monitored.’
Ofcom chief executive Sharon White told MPs in May that the watchdog would be scrutinising the use of lie detectors on both the Jeremy Kyle Show and Love Island, following the death of participants on both shows.
Struggling: Lucie, 21, was left in tears on Sunday’s episode after another row between her and Amy Hart, 26
She added: ‘We will be looking at lie detectors and other tools used by the production companies, as to whether … it’s fair treatment for vulnerable individuals.
‘These high-risk prize events or the use of a lie detector or a particular editorial tool may not be appropriate.’
Following the death of Steve Dymond in May, Ofcom asked ITV to give it information within five working days – however ITV asked for more time to complete their inquiries.
MailOnline has also contacted representatives for Love Island for further comment.
Lucie, 21, was left in tears on Sunday’s episode after another row between her and Amy Hart, 26.
On the ITV2 show, the rift between the pair was evident when Lucie admitted to targeting her fellow Islander during the food fight.
The Bridezilla challenge developed a sour edge as Amy, 26, broke down in tears following the game.
Amy has also been repeatedly criticising Lucie for opting to spend time with the boys, and previously slammed her for ‘stealing her thunder,’ and they both went exclusive with the respective male partners on the same day.
Lucie’s partner Joe also began to suggest she become better friends with the female Islanders, having grown jealous of her friendship with Tommy.
Sadly the pressure proved to be too much for Lucie ahead of the recoupling, as she broke down in tears after being told by both Joe she should get closer to the girls, as his jealousy grew around her platonic relationship with Tommy Fury.
Seriously? Many fans also branded Amy a ‘fake friend’ for her behaviour towards Amy, after the surfer called her out for ‘badmouthing’ her to the other girls
The emotional blonde lamented she ‘couldn’t be bothered’ with the friendship politics in the Mallorcan villa anymore.
But unable to accept this, Joe later told his fellow islanders he hoped she ‘woke up and changes’ her behaviour.
Fans were equally shocked by Amy and Joe’s behaviour, though the air stewardess was more criticised for being a ‘fake friend.’
One posted: ‘Here we will see Amy’s face when Joe picked her ”friend” Lucie. I wonder why she doesn’t feel like talking to you Amy. Genuinely escapes me hun.’
A second tweeted: ‘Amy honestly is the reason why girls like Lucie prefer to hang out with boys. She’s the fake friend that smiles to your face and is the first to talk s**t behind your back.’
Another posted: ‘The girls are b****y but Amy’s leading it all, she don’t like Lucie and she’s 100% manipulative. She’s turning everyone against her and she can see it’s making the poor girl miserable, then she’s turning on the tears for effect. 18+ acting 12, it’s a no from me.’
Unbelievable: Other fans have also heavily criticised Lucie’s partner Joe for being ‘controlling’ and ‘manipulative’
Wrong: The sandwich maker said it was ‘weird’ that Lucie had such a close friendship with Tommy in the villa
Many fans also criticised Joe following Sunday’s show, as he said it was ‘weird’ that she had such a close friendship with Tommy, adding that he hopes her behaviour will ‘change’ as their relationship progresses.
One wrote: ‘Joe is soooo controlling Lucie get out girl!’ while another added: ‘It’s actually becoming uncomfortable to watch how everyone is treating Lucie I’d genuinely worry for her mental health in there at this point… and Joe is sooo manipulative major red flags.
A third posted: ‘Joe saying that the friendship between Lucie and Tommy is strange when the whole of the UK think the complete opposite and think that he’s the strange one in the situation.’
‘Massively insecury, gaslighting Lucie, attempting to control who Lucie’s spending time with; Joe is a genuinely dangerous person,’ one fan also tweeted.
‘Joe seems unbelievably insecure and controlling. Feel for #Lucie.’
Upset: Eventually the pressure proved too much to Lucie, and she broke down in tears on Sunday’s show
Too much: The blonde told Joe that the ‘couldn’t be bothered’ with the friendship politics in the villa anymore
Despite their woes, Joe opted to pick Lucie in the recoupling, but yet more drama unfolded when it was revealed that each couple would vote on which one they viewed as the least compatible.
The couple that received the most votes would be dumped from the Island, so it remains to be seen whether Joe and Lucie will survive.
Love Island continues on Monday 17th June at 9pm on ITV2.
Together: Following a turbulent evening when Joe began to doubt whether he and Lucie were the right match, the sandwich maker bit the bullet and opted to stay with her
Last year Love Island scored 4th on the list of most complained about TV programmes to Ofcom – but could be set to top the list this year now that Celebrity Big Brother is no longer aired.
The now defunct Celebrity Big Brother was the most-complained about TV programme to Ofcom in 2018 – 27,602 complaints were received from viewers about the Channel 5 reality TV series.
The majority of grievances related to the false ‘Punchgate’ allegations made by Roxanne Pallett against Ryan Thomas.
Former Emmerdale star Roxanne, 36, accused 34-year-old Ryan – who went on to eventually win the show – of ‘punching’ her, but she later apologised, saying she had got the situation ‘massively wrong’.
Top 10 Most complained about TV Programmes
Most complained about TV programmes to Ofcom in 2018:
1. Celebrity Big Brother – 27,602 complaints
2. Loose Women – 8,002
3. Sky News – 4, 251
4. Love Island – 4, 192
5. Coronation Street – 1,098
6. Emmerdale – 759
7. Good Morning Britain – 548
8. This Morning – 402
9. I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! – 335
10. The X Factor – 286