Love Island accused of fixing relationship between Gemma Owen and younger man after complaints


Love Island bosses accused of fixing relationship between Gemma Owen, 19, and younger man after viewers complained about her flirtation with the ‘Italian Stallion’ Sanclimenti who is eight years her senior

  • Last Thursday, Gemma began flirting with Luca Bish, a 23-year-old fishmonger
  • Raft of complaints to Ofcom over Miss Owen’s romance with Sanclimenti, 27
  • Viewers are understood to have been uncomfortable about their age difference

ITV has been accused of orchestrating a romance with a younger contestant for 19-year-old star Gemma Owen after complaints were made about her kissing Davide Sanclimenti, who is eight years older.

Last Thursday, the daughter of former England footballer Michael Owen began flirting with Luca Bish, a 23-year-old fishmonger – and on Friday night he chose Miss Owen to couple up with, prompting speculation that producers are behind relationships in the show, which claims not to be fake.

It comes as The Mail on Sunday can reveal that there has been a raft of complaints to the television regulator Ofcom over Miss Owen’s romance with Sanclimenti, 27, who has described himself as an ‘Italian Stallion’.

Viewers are understood to have been uncomfortable about their age difference.

New couple? Last Thursday, the daughter of former England footballer Michael Owen began flirting with Luca Bish, a 23-year-old fishmonger

New couple? Last Thursday, the daughter of former England footballer Michael Owen began flirting with Luca Bish, a 23-year-old fishmonger

The flirtation between the pair was brief, with sources suggesting that producers on the ITV2 dating series moved quickly to ensure that Miss Owen’s attention was caught by Bish.

Meanwhile, Sanclimenti has been flirting with Ekin-Su Culculoglu, who is the same age as him.

A source told the MoS: ‘The outrage about Gemma and Davide wasn’t expected at all by the show’s producers – they didn’t see it coming. Eight years isn’t a massive gap, but it is the fact that Gemma is still a teenager and so young that her being with a man in his late twenties seems to have upset the fans.

‘Now there is huge industry speculation that behind the scenes Love Island staff did a quick reverse ferret because they saw the backlash. If that is the case it makes a huge mockery of the show.’

Complaints: ITV has been accused of orchestrating a romance with a younger contestant for 19-year-old star Gemma Owen after complaints were made about her kissing Davide Sanclimenti, who is eight years older

Complaints: ITV has been accused of orchestrating a romance with a younger contestant for 19-year-old star Gemma Owen after complaints were made about her kissing Davide Sanclimenti, who is eight years older

ITV denies any fakery on Love Island, but does concede it is a ‘combination of reality and produced elements that are reflective of what’s happening in the villa’. 

The source also voiced suspicion, given the complaints to Ofcom, that a conversation between Miss Owen and Sanclimenti in which they said the age gap between them was not orchestrated may actually have been orchestrated itself. 

On Thursday’s show, dressage champion Miss Owen discussed the eight-year age difference, asking Sanclimenti whether it ‘bothered him’. 

He said: ‘What do you think about the fact that I am much older than you, and you are not bothered about that?’ 

Romance: It comes as The Mail on Sunday can reveal that there has been a raft of complaints to the television regulator Ofcom over Miss Owen¿s romance with Sanclimenti, 27, who has described himself as an ¿Italian Stallion¿

Romance: It comes as The Mail on Sunday can reveal that there has been a raft of complaints to the television regulator Ofcom over Miss Owen’s romance with Sanclimenti, 27, who has described himself as an ‘Italian Stallion’

Miss Owen replied: ‘No it’s not an issue for me at all. If it was then I wouldn’t have wanted to get to know you in the first place. It’s not something that I’m not used to or that you’re the only one.’

Viewers expressed their concerns about the age gap. One tweeted: ‘No one above 25 should be getting with someone who’s got teen in their age.’ 

Another wrote: ‘All I can think about every time Gemma and Davide talk is the age gap and it’s hurting me #LoveIsland.’

On Friday night, the romance between Miss Owen and Bish continued after he chose to ‘recouple’ with her – meaning they will sleep in the same bed.

Hello: ITV denies any fakery on Love Island, but does concede it is a ¿combination of reality and produced elements that are reflective of what¿s happening in the villa¿

Hello: ITV denies any fakery on Love Island, but does concede it is a ‘combination of reality and produced elements that are reflective of what’s happening in the villa’

Meanwhile, ITV could find itself facing further criticism after contestant Liam Llewellyn, with whom Miss Owen was originally matched, quit the show after failing to get a female companion. 

His father, former Welsh rugby star Alan Llewellyn, flew to Majorca to comfort his son. 

His early departure on Friday came after ITV revealed it monitored contestants for almost five months before they entered the villa. 

Revealing his decision to go, the 22-year-old told co-stars: ‘I haven’t really been feeling like I’ve been giving 100 per cent Liam.’

Family: On Friday night, the romance between Miss Owen and Bish continued after he chose to ¿recouple¿ with her ¿ meaning they will sleep in the same bed

Family: On Friday night, the romance between Miss Owen and Bish continued after he chose to ‘recouple’ with her – meaning they will sleep in the same bed

Unimpressed: Meanwhile, ITV could find itself facing further criticism after contestant Liam Llewellyn, with whom Miss Owen was originally matched, quit the show after failing to get a female companion

Unimpressed: Meanwhile, ITV could find itself facing further criticism after contestant Liam Llewellyn, with whom Miss Owen was originally matched, quit the show after failing to get a female companion

Following his departure. Miss Owen – who had turned her attention from him to Sanclimenti – admitted she ‘felt proper guilty’.

ITV has decided not to be kinder to contestants, despite two former stars taking their own lives. It said it gave support to those taking part.

On Friday it was revealed that Miss Owen’s ex-boyfriend, rugby player Jacques O’Neill, 23, would enter the house tonight. A source said: ‘Producers must know the impact this will have on Gemma.’

Love Island did not respond to a request to comment last night.

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