‘It’s a manipulated programme’: Love Island’s Danny Williams speaks out ahead of new series

‘It’s a manipulated programme’: Love Island’s Danny Williams speaks out ahead of new series and urges viewers to ‘have empathy’ for contestants

Former Love Islander Danny Williams has spoken out ahead of the new series start date and has urged viewers of the reality TV show to ‘have empathy’ for contestants.

Love Island 2023 is due to kick off on Monday, but having had experience on the show in 2019, Danny has discussed the ‘manipulated’ nature of the series.

The 25-year-old, who appeared on the ITV programme when he was only 21, stressed that the show should not be taken at ‘face value’.

Important messsage: Former Love Islander Danny Williams has spoken out ahead of the new series start date and has urged viewers of the reality TV show to 'have empathy'

Important messsage: Former Love Islander Danny Williams has spoken out ahead of the new series start date and has urged viewers of the reality TV show to ‘have empathy’

Speaking to the BBC, he said: ‘As someone who’s gone through that experience, you’re not fully aware of how much manipulation is going on.

‘But I think it’s important the viewers are aware of that so when they watch the show they are not thinking that’s exactly how it looks at face value.’

During his time on the show, Danny became caught up in a love triangle with Yewande Biala and Arabella Chi.

But he stresses he’s grown up a lot since then.

Experience: Love Island 2023 is due to kick off on Monday, but having had experience on the show in 2019, Danny has opened up on the 'manipulated' nature of the series

Experience: Love Island 2023 is due to kick off on Monday, but having had experience on the show in 2019, Danny has opened up on the ‘manipulated’ nature of the series

Now, he reflected that to ‘judge somebody at 20, 21 might be a bit harsh’.

Love Island is no stranger to criticism – last year Ofcom received 3,600 complaints in a single week about alleged misogynistic behaviour on the show. 

Danny continued: ‘Mental health wasn’t really something I thought about before my experience of Love Island.

‘And then, having seen the highs and lows of it, it was kind of brought to the forefront of my attention and I had to address it.

‘And, I guess going through that process I’ve now got to a point where it’s something I am really passionate about.’

Lessons: The 25-year-old, who appeared on the ITV programme when he was only 21, stressed that the show should not be taken at 'face value'

Lessons: The 25-year-old, who appeared on the ITV programme when he was only 21, stressed that the show should not be taken at ‘face value’

Ahead of a new series starting next week, Danny, who is now a mental health coach, said he wanted audiences to be considerate of the contestants.

He said: ‘Ask yourself if that was your sibling would you let them off the hook a little bit?

‘Would you say “look, they’re just a young person trying to figure things out and everybody makes mistakes”.

‘I would implore people to have a little bit of empathy and just remind themselves that it’s a manipulated television programme designed to entertain you.’    

However, despite criticisms levelled at the show Danny said there were ‘a lot of positives’, particularly with stars using their social media platform ‘for real long lasting change’.

Controversial: Love Island is no stranger to criticism - last year Ofcom received 3,600 complaints in a single week about alleged misogynistic behaviour on the show

Controversial: Love Island is no stranger to criticism – last year Ofcom received 3,600 complaints in a single week about alleged misogynistic behaviour on the show

Danny himself faced trolling after coming off the show in 2019, admitting at the time that he had received ‘racist death threats’, while his co-star Yewande Biala admitted she had been called ‘ugly’. 

Speaking on FUBAR Radio on Danny confessed he got trolled horrifically every day. 

He said: ‘I’ve had death threats, racism, people threatening to come around to my house and hurt my family. As worse as you can imagine, I’ve had it all. And it’s still happening today. Daily. 

‘Everyone’s entitled to their opinions, but there’s never an excuse for that kind of stuff. It’s horrible.’

Danny noted that it affected his family – so much so that they had to get the police involved: ‘I’m not going to sit there and feel guilty. The thing that annoys me is that my family gets upset. 

‘Especially when I was in the villa, they had a tough time dealing with all the abuse.’ 

Difficulties: Danny himself faced trolling after coming off the show in 2019, admitting at the time that he had received 'racist death threats'

Difficulties: Danny himself faced trolling after coming off the show in 2019, admitting at the time that he had received ‘racist death threats’

Love Island duty of care protocols in full – ahead of 2023 series

The full duty of care process is outlined below:

Pre Filming and Filming

– Registered mental health professional engaged throughout the whole series – from pre-filming to aftercare.

– Thorough pre-filming psychological and medical assessments including assessments by an independent doctor, psychological consultant and reports from each Islander’s own GP to check medical history.

– Potential Islanders are required to fully disclose in confidence any medical history that would be relevant to their inclusion in the Villa and the production’s ability to provide a suitable environment for them.

– Managing cast expectations: detailed explanations both verbally and in writing of the implications, both positive and negative, of taking part in the series are given to potential cast members throughout the casting process and reinforced within the contract so it is clear.

– Cast are told they should consider all the potential implications of taking part in the show and work through this decision-making process in consultation with their family and those closest to them, to ensure they feel it is right for them.

– Senior Team on the ground have received training in Mental Health First Aid.

– A welfare team solely dedicated to the Islanders both during the show and after.

Aftercare

– Bespoke training on dealing with social media and advice on finance and adjusting to life back home.

– A minimum of eight therapy sessions will be offered to each Islander when they return home.

– Proactive contact with Islanders for a period of 14 months after the series in which they have appeared has ended, with additional help provided where applicable.

– We encourage Islanders to secure management to represent them after the show and manage them should they choose to take part in other TV shows, advertising campaigns or other public appearance opportunities.

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