After promising to “reflect the diversity of its audience” this season, Love Island fans were left disappointed when the new contestants were revealed to be super slim women and muscular men once again.
Now, creative director of ITV Studios Entertainment Richard Cowles has responded to the backlash, revising the show’s earlier mission statement and saying that representation is “not at the front” of their minds during casting.
“First and foremost, it’s an entertainment show,” he told spectators at a press conference in Majorca, Spain. “It’s about people wanting to watch who you’ve got on screen falling in love with one another.
“Yes, we want to be as representative as possible but we also want them to be attracted to one another.”
He continued: “We’re not saying that everyone that’s in there is how you’re supposed to look. We’re saying, ‘Here’s a group of people that we want to watch for eight weeks, and we want to watch them fall in love’.
“That’s not at the front of our mind, but we do want to be as diverse as possible.”
A rep for the dating show previously said that “when casting for Love Island, [they] always strive to reflect the age, experiences and diversity of the audience” and promised “a cross section of different personalities and backgrounds in the villa” this time round.
Cowles’s comments have not gone down well online. Many took to Twitter today (31 May) to criticise him for suggesting “plus size people aren’t attractive.”
“WOW, us ‘plus size’ aren’t attractive right? I’ll just go have a look at my bank balance and portfolio,” model Felicity Hayward wrote. “I’m an absolute babe and never had a problem finding love, so stop with this f**kery.”
Meanwhile, another user said: “I don't get how ‘Love Island’ bosses can have such narrow-minded views on what makes people attracted to each other.
“We are in a world where there is more to us than what we look like and it is a shame that a show that is a popular as LI is only focusing on looks to gain attraction.”
Love Island’s fifth season premieres on Monday 3 June at 9pm on ITV2.