On Monday, June 5, ITV is kicking off season 10 of its hit dating showLove Island. But before the season even premiered, old tweets from a contestant containing homophobic language were brought to the surface on social media.
While George Fensom was already being sequestered in preparation to enter the Love Island villa, certain tweets of his with homophobic slurs and using “gay” as an insult came up to the surface. These tweets were shared back in 2014, when Fensom was 15 years old.
Some viewers called for Fensom to be disqualified from the show as a result of these tweets, but it appears that producers decided to move forward with him as a contestant. Fensom wrote in a statement (via Cosmopolitan):
“I honestly just feel absolutely sick about those tweets. They are not who I am today, they couldn’t be any further from the man I am today and 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 continue to learn now what is right and what is wrong. In regards to people saying that I’m not right for the villa, all I would say is this: everyone’s made mistakes.”
“Everyone has said things that they regret. The difference in the way that I’ll defend myself is the way that I’m owning that and I’ve admitted that that was the wrong thing to say. And actually, if I could turn back time, then I wouldn’t have said the things that I said.”
Though some people feel like a contestant shouldn’t be disqualified for a few tweets shared when they were 15, this feels like yet another chapter of the overall Love Island franchise being dismissive toward the LGBTQ+ community.