Enough is enough, George Fensom should never have been allowed in the Love Island villa
Get him off my screen right now
Love Island returned to screens last night after releasing assurance to viewers that all contestants had completed video training covering a range of topics including: mutually respectful behaviour in relationships, behaviour patterns associated with controlling and coercive behaviour and language around disability, sexuality, race and ethnicity. Some, it’s quickly emerged, seemingly needed this training more than others.
After statements of concern from domestic violence charities being issued for multiple previous seasons of Love Island, the recruitment process for contestants is presented as rigorous and careful. Yet, before the first episode of the tenth season even aired last night, 24-year-old George Fensom had been accused of exhibiting controlling behaviour by two separate women, allegations his family have denied.
Ahead of the series starting, Women’s Aid told press: “Considering the amount of concern about controlling behaviour that viewers have raised during previous series of Love Island, at Women’s Aid we hope that the producers will be taking these allegations seriously, and looking into them as part of their due diligence before the new series begins. We know only too well that abusers can be charming and convincing in public and are able to manipulate others into disbelieving allegations.”
ITV refused to comment on whether any such investigation has been launched into George’s behaviour when questioned by The Tab.
On top of allegations of controlling behaviour, homophobic Tweets were found on George’s account before the first episode of Love Island aired yesterday. In the posts, from a username which has since been deleted, George said the f-slur, and referred to things using “gay” as a negative adjective. The tweets are from 2014, when George would have been 15-years-old.
“I honestly just feel absolutely sick about those tweets,” he told The Sun in a statement. “They are not who I am today, they couldn’t be any further from the man I am today and you quite frankly, if I could turn back time I wouldn’t even have put those. To be honest with you, it’s me being really naive at that age. I made the account back in 2011, so it’s just stupidity on my behalf and doesn’t reflect on who I am today at all.”
“We get about 98,000 applications for Love Island,” ITV’s chief executive Dame Carolyn McCall confirmed at the start of this year. A number, it’s been widely noted, is higher than those who apply for Oxbridge. Among those hoards— could they not have picked a guy who didn’t have homophobic slurs plastered all over his Twitter account? After background checks, this man should never have been allowed on the show at all.
Although, it doesn’t appear he’s going to last long after Jess made it overwhelmingly clear she just wasn’t into him and a deathly silence followed when she optimistically asked the group: “Does anybody fancy George?!” Maybe her ideal type on paper is someone without a homophobic past and a potentially problematic present.
When asked about George’s controversies, ITV told The Tab in a statement they have a “zero tolerance of any discriminatory language in the villa”. Although, as the channel is refusing to remove him from the show since his Tweets have emerged, discriminatory language outside of the villa appears just fine.
“We have spoken to George and his family with regards to the allegations being made on social media. His family have responded with a statement,” they said. “The safeguarding and ongoing welfare of our contributors is always the top priority. As part of our duty of care process, all Islanders undergo psychological evaluation prior to being selected for the show, and we also stipulate that all Islanders participate in our training programme around language and behaviour – this is a very important part of our pre entry procedure.
“We have a zero tolerance of any discriminatory language in the villa and we speak to all of the islanders to remind them of what we condone to be acceptable behaviour during their time on the show. They are also spoken to daily by our welfare team to ensure they remain comfortable in their relationships.”
Love Island 2023 is on ITV2 and ITVX. 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.