love island

Tasha’s dad says Love Island is ‘mentally draining’ for her and he’s ‘shocked’ at ableism

‘It’s a pressured environment but she has an extra pressure no one seems to recognise’

The dad of Love Island 2022 star Tasha Ghouri has spoken out over the ableist comments she’s received, saying he’s “shocked” and the show is “draining for her”.

Tasha is Love Island’s first ever deaf contestant. She has been mocked and made fun of online for her disability in vile ways, with people commenting on and even making videos impersonating the way she speaks due to her being deaf.

Tasha’s dad, Tarek Ghouri, said “it’s mentally draining for her trying to compute what’s been said”, including having to lip read people who aren’t facing her or whose mouths are covered with bottles, and trying to work out who said what when lots of different people are talking.

via Instagram @tashaghouri

“Staying involved in conversation when you can only hear robotic sounds in only one of your ears is mentally draining. This leads to tiredness and sometimes tears,” he said. Last week Tasha ended up in tears after she was voted in the bottom three girls shortly after asking Andrew to be her boyfriend. Her fellow Love Island star Luca, as well as people on social media, had said they were confused over what they saw as an overly emotional reaction.

“It’s a pressured environment for all but she has an extra pressure no one seems to recognise apart from anyone who is deaf or heard of hearing”, Tarek said.

There has been ableist trolling of Tasha online. A ‘trend’ on TikTok sees people mimicking Tasha’s way of speaking – the top results when you search her name include “Tasha impression hearing aid meme” and “guy does of impression Tasha”.

Tweets ‘joke’ about damaging or removing her hearing aid and others call her slurs, and a deaf spokesperson, Stacey Worboys, for the charity Royal National Institute for Deaf People, has condemned the ableist comments being made about Tasha online, telling The Tab: “The jokes and abuse aimed at Tasha, or at anyone who is deaf or disabled, are completely unacceptable.”

Tasha’s dad Tarek said they had discussed possible negative responses before she went on the show, but said he’s still been shocked by the negativity and ableist comments. He said: “Despite the negativity she was successful before she went in and she will be successful when she comes out. We talked about the possible negativity and if you think you are prepared for it you are not.

“Negativity is not what we do in this family so it is a bit of a shock but more so is the ablest comments like last night when someone described her as a ‘deaf whore’.”

He explained that Tasha’s hearing aid is bright white and she wanted to go on the show “to represent and show deaf kids, teens and adults that they have nothing to fear by embracing their deafness or hearing aids”. She has also said she is going to donate half of any winnings to a deaf children’s charity. “I applaud her and we will deal with the negativity,” he said. “She lets nothing stop her.”

Tarek finished by saying: “Thank you to everyone who’s posted on this page with positive messages. Truly from the bottom of Tasha’s and our hearts”, and included #BeKind.

Love Island 2022 continues on ITV2 at 9pm tonight. For all the latest Love Island news and gossip and for the best memes and quizzes, like The Holy Church of Love Island on Facebook. 

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