You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Death of Former ‘Love Island’ Contestant Sparks Debate on Producers’ Responsibility

The death of former “Love Island” contestant Mike Thalassitis has led to calls for the producers of this and other reality shows to take greater steps to ensure that participants are properly equipped to handle the effects of being in the spotlight – before, during, and after they appear on TV.

Thalassitis, who had been dealing with a recent family bereavement, was found hanged in a park near his home in London on Saturday in an apparent suicide. Police said they were not treating the death as suspicious.

Fellow participants on the ITV show and others who knew him paid tribute, and several criticized the show’s producers for not making better provision for contestants’ welfare. A wider debate is now underway in the U.K. about reality producers’ duty of care to people who appear on their shows.

Love Island” sees a group of young contestants living together, dating and breaking up in a tropical villa. The ITV Studios-produced unscripted series has been a huge breakout hit for ITV2 in Britain. ITV Studios has sold the format widely, including a U.S. version being produced for CBS, giving the question of how to properly take care of contestants an international dimension.

An inquest is ongoing into the death of another former “Love Island” participant, Sophie Gradon, who was found dead at her home last June.

Former contestants Rykard Jenkins and Malin Andersson were among those who tweeted about coping with the pressures of being on the show. British actress Sheridan Smith said on Twitter that Thalassitis’ death should be a “massive wake-up call.”

Chris Hughes, who appeared on “Love Island” with Thalassitis, was among those to call on people to stop referring to him as “Muggy Mike,” a nickname he was given on the reality show. Thalassitis had also appeared in the E4 unscripted series “Celebs Go Dating,” which paid tribute to him after after the credits rolled on an episode of the show broadcast since his death.

Another former “Love Island” participant, Kady McDermott, said producers need to help people after they leave shows. “Hopefully going forward reality shows will help more with the aftermath of being on one, because I can say it definitely didn’t happen after my series, when lots of us needed it.”

ITV said it takes its duty of care for “Love Island” contestants very seriously. “We ensure that all of our contributors are able to access psychological support before, during and after appearing on the show,” it said. “The program will always provide ongoing support when needed and where appropriate.”

It added: “We also discuss at length with all of our Islanders, before and after the show, how their lives might change and they have access to support and advice to help with this.”

More TV

  • CBS News Sets Global 'Earth Matters'

    CBS News Sets Global 'Earth Matters' Reporting Effort for Earth Day

    CBS News is sending correspondents to far corners of the earth for an all-day “Earth Matters” reporting effort to kick off Monday on “CBS This Morning.” To coincide with Earth Day, five correspondents will be spread among five continents to offer in-depth reports on environmental issues and the politics in the U.S. surrounding the response [...]

  • Jimmy Kimmel government shutdown

    Jimmy Kimmel Sets Live Classic Sitcom Special for May on ABC

    Jimmy Kimmel’s long-gestating live sitcom special is finally coming to fruition. Kimmel announced Thursday night on his ABC late-night show that the special, which was first announced in May 2017, will air Wednesday, May 22, from 8-9:30 p.m. ET. The special will see a cast of celebrity guests recreating two classic episodes of the sitcoms [...]

  • WGA Agency Packaging Fight Placeholder Writer

    WGA: 92 Percent of Writers Who Signed Statement of Support Have Fired Agents

    The Writers Guild of America estimated that over 92 percent of their members who support a new code of conduct for talent agencies have fired those representatives. Letters announcing formal termination will be delivered on Monday, the guild said in a late-hitting memo on Thursday, as most agencies will be closed tomorrow in observance of [...]

  • The Village

    NBC Swaps Timeslots of Freshman Drama 'The Village,' 'The Voice' on Tuesdays

    NBC is changing the timeslots of Tuesday shows “The Voice” and “The Village.” Up to this point, freshman scripted drama “The Village” has aired at 9 p.m. ET Tuesdays immediately after “The Voice” at 8 p.m. Beginning April 23, “The Village” will air at 8 followed by “The Voice” at 9. The schedule will remain [...]

  • Donald Trump

    HBO Fires Back at Trump's 'Game of Thrones'-Inspired 'No Collusion' Tweet

    HBO is firing back at President Donald Trump after he sent another “Game of Thrones”-inspired tweet in response to the release of a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the Russia investigation. “Though we can understand the enthusiasm for ‘Game of Thrones’ now that the final season has arrived, we still prefer [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content