"Our only stipulation for applicants on Love Island is that they are over 18, single, and looking for love," the source told the Daily Star.
According to the source, the producers of Love Island teamed up with Tinder to strategically place the ads "inside the app so you have to swipe left or right," and "the ads have been showing up on both male and female gay accounts as well as on those of straight people."
Love Island takes a group of contestants to an isolated villa on the Spanish Mediterranean island of Majorca. Once there, the single islanders must couple up with other islanders to survive and advance. Singles are dumped after periodic couplings and recouplings, and islanders can also be eliminated by a vote from the public using an app. Viewers have additional options to vote for their favorite couples or even try their shot at matchmaking. Winners receive a cash prize at the conclusion of the season.
The show has included bisexual contestants in the past, but a gay or lesbian couple would be a first for Love Island. Executive producer Richard Cowles said previously including LGBTQ+ islanders in the cast was always on the radar, but making it work within the format of the show presented difficulties.
"It is not impossible and it is not something that we shy away from," he said, but he noted the purpose of the show is "to create couples" and mixing straight and LGBTQ+ islanders "makes it difficult."
Viewers on the U.S. version of the show were left scratching their heads after hot islander Noah Purvis quietly disappeared from the show last year. It was later revealed Purvis had a past in gay porn and CBS issued a statement explaining the home health care provider turned islander had violated his contestant agreement by providing "false information on his application" and was removed from the show as a result. For good measure, Purvis was also edited out of the show's footage.
\u201cso apparently noah from love island used to be... uh.. an actor\u2764\ufe0f #LoveIsland #LoveIslandUSA \n\n(look at the spot on his chest)\u201d
— henry \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf3 (@henry \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf3)
The ITV version of Love Island is scheduled to return to the island of Majorca in June, with suitable precautions in place for the pandemic with social distancing and facewear.
"All precautions have been taken to make sure it goes smoothly," a source told the Daily Star, adding that "everyone is very excited" about the show returning.