'Love Island' Fans Are Urging Viewers To 'Be Kind' After Deaths Of Former Contestants
Facebook fan page Love Island News, which has no affiliation with the show, posted to encourage those offering up their opinions to remember that the islanders are "real people".
Sophie Gradon, who appeared on the ITV2 show in 2016, and Mike Thalassitis, who starred in 2017, died aged 32 and 26 respectively.
Given the complexities of mental health issues, it would be unfair to blame the show or social media for the reality stars' suicides, but many believe that being thrust into the spotlight so suddenly, and finding themselves under scrutiny from the public, would have impacted negatively on their mental health states.
According to a Detective Sergeant at Sophie's death inquest, Sophie had been suffering anxiety and low self-esteem prior to hanging herself. And according to former Love Island contestant Montana Brown, Mike had been in a "dark place" in the months leading up to his death.
And it is these deaths that prompted The Love Island News Facebook fan group to post: "Think before you post & tweet tonight. Remember there is a fine line between voicing your opinion & having a bit of banter versus cyber bullying & online trolling. The Islanders are real people so remember its nice to be nice!"
The post was listed in the group alongside pictures of both Sophie and Mike to ensure the message really hit home.
Twitter goers over the years have always been quick to take to the site to offer their opinions over the show's contestants and some tweets over the years have been nasty.
It has highlighted just how easy it is to hide behind a screen and make judgment on someone - Mike for one was the target of many tweets about his behaviour on the show.
Tweets have been barbaric in the past over many contestants, with concerns particularly rife over the vitriolic comments about 2019 contestant Molly-Mae Hague.
Many were worried how the persistently hateful tweets would affect the 20-year-old's mental health on exiting the villa.
She was called "Money Mae" on many occasions, being told she was only after her share of the 50k Love Island cash prize which she would have received had she won the show with Tommy.
The pair is still together despite doubt from viewers over whether Molly was genuinely in love with Tommy and last year she made several comments about the extent of the trolling.
She told OK!: "It's like the world hates me," explaining "the comments can be really intense".
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India Reynolds was another target, when rumours swirled last year she'd cheated on Love Island favourite Ovie Soko (something she strongly denied), with Twitter goers making comments such as "you belong to the streets".
Even much-loved contestant Marcel Somerville from the 2017 season who was already used to fame (he was a member of Blazin' Squad,) was shocked by the level of public interest in his life following the show.
He told MPs at a reality TV probe launch, that after leaving the villa, it "was the worst period of my life."
And last night after the first episode of Winter Love Island aired, some were quick to cast hurtful opinions.
One tweet read: "I'm saying this in the nicest possible way but Paige looks like miss piggy #Loveisland".
We're unsure how likening someone to Miss Piggy could ever be 'nice' to be honest.
Another added: "Are the twins only "beautiful" to everyone because they are blonde and twins... because... I don't see it... #LoveIsland #LoveIsland2020".
You may not think them beautiful, but why take to Twitter to announce that? Do people not understand the twins being referred to, Eve and Jess Gale, who showed up late to episode one last night can see these comments when they leave the villa?
Which is why thankfully, others were reminding the social media world to play nice, which accredited business and media psychologist Charlotte Armitage wholly encourages.
She explained to Tyla the problem with social media is that it's too easy to hide behind a screen with no consequences.
She said: "People don't consider the ramifications of what they type because they cannot see how upset or hurt the person on the receiving end is, meaning they never feel guilty about what they have said."
She continued about reality shows in particular: "Everyone I have worked with who has been on a reality show has struggled and hasn't realised how tough it would be afterwards."
Adding: "With the fact that social media is a significant part of our lives now, it's absolutely vital that society makes steps to adjust their behaviour in the online domain.
"Ensuring that we treat others online with the respect we ourselves would expect to be treated with, and in a manner that we would conduct ourselves in face to face interaction, will facilitate the development of a more respectful online world."
She however commented that Love Island, now more than ever is one of the best programmes in terms of looking after its contestants.
Everyone is entitled to their opinions, but when it starts to get personal to the point of criticising others' appearances or mannerisms, particularly in a public setting that everyone can see, it goes way too far.
Senseless tweeting has got to stop, before we see yet another wasted life.
Featured Image Credit: PA