Love Island fans are up in arms at a rather controversial comment made on companion show Aftersun, where rapper Stefflon Don made unpleasant comments speculating about a contestant's sexuality.
The conversation began around contestants Medhi and Whitney, who had been rowing over the results of the show's heart rate challenge.
“I don’t know if he even likes females, I’m not going to lie,” she said to Maya Jama about Medhi.
The presenter and audience both reacted in surprise at these comments, with some boos heard from the crowd."I’m not sure you know," Stefflon continued. “Or he likes both. He’s giving a bit of both.” Maya replied: “He can do whatever he likes, but…” – by then the damage was done.
Fans took to social media to voice their disappointment in anyone's sexuality being discussed in such a way on live TV – however Medhi may identify, it's beyond inappropriate to speculate, especially in a way that feels disrespectful. Also, it's just nobody's business.
One posted: “In all seriousness this is very crass this is far too common didn't think I'd see it on national television the casual homophobia you see on here”. Another reshared a post reading: “Free black women from the shackles of internalized homophobia”.
Stefflon's comments are perfect examples of the internalised and casual homophobia that is woven through heterosexual culture in particular – that suggestions of bisexuality or any form of queer identity can be used as an unattractive quality. It feeds into toxic lad culture, suggesting that there is only one way to be masculine and leaving no allowance for fluidity.
The extra kick in the teeth is that these comments have been made during Pride Month, a time where all queer identities are meant to be celebrated and acknowledged in particular, not used as some kind of dismissive insult or joke.
Stefflon Don has faced criticism for saying she “didn't even know” if Love Island contestant Medhi “liked females”.
One Love Island fan tweeted: “It’s one thing to question a man’s sexuality openly, another to do it on national telly, but the worst to do it during pride month when everyone’s pretending to care that extra bit”.
The reality TV dating show has often come under fire for its heteronormative approach in the past, with the prominence of new queer dating shows such as I Kissed A Boy and The Ultimatum: Queer Love proving that there's a huge market for and interest in representation in these kind of TV shows.
As new, more inclusive TV shows become more popular and normalised on our screens, it's even more important for Love Island to be progressive and give voices to allies to the LGBTQIA+ community, as well as members of said community.
GLAMOUR has contacted Stefflon Don and ITV for comment.