‘Love Island’ Host’s Shock Death Revives Concerns Around Mental Health, Media Scrutiny

The death of popular “Love Island” host Caroline Flack has sent shockwaves across the U.K. and again raised long-running concerns about broadcaster ITV’s support of cast members on the hit reality competition as well as the country’s intense media scrutiny of public figures.

Flack, one of the U.K.’s most recognizable reality hosts, was found dead in her apartment on Saturday, a lawyer for her family confirmed. Tributes have begun accumulating for Flack, a mainstay on British television, outside her home in East London.

In response to her death, ITV cancelled Saturday’s edition of “Love Island,” while Channel 4 confirmed it is pulling cosmetic surgery series “The Surjury,” which was to be hosted by Flack.

The 40-year-old star was set to face trial in just over two weeks, months after she was arrested and charged with assault in December following a domestic dispute with partner Lewis Burton. Flack, who appeared in court in December, denied all allegations.

However, shortly after the incident, ITV pulled the star from hosting the first winter version of “Love Island,” which premiered in early January, replacing her with Laura Whitmore, a close friend.

Flack wrote on her Instagram account on Dec. 24 that “this kind of scrutiny and speculation is a lot to take on for one person,” before adding that she was taking time out to “get feeling better and learn some lessons from situations I’ve got myself into.”

View this post on Instagram

I wanted to write something about mental health day last week but I was knee deep in work. And some days it’s hard to write your feelings of your not in the right place. The last few weeks I’ve been in a really weird place… I find it hard to talk about it .. I guess it’s anxiety and pressure of life … and when I actually reached out to someone they said I was draining. I feel like this is why some people keep their emotions to themselves. I certainly hate talking about my feelings. And being a burden is my biggest fear…. I’m lucky to be able to pick myself up when things feel shit. But what happens if someone can’t . Be nice to people. You never know what’s going on . Ever

A post shared by Caroline (@carolineflack) on

Flack’s death comes almost a year after the suicide of former “Love Island” contestant Mike Thalassitis and, previously, the reported suicide of contestant Sophie Gradon in June 2018. In response to the latter deaths, ITV rolled out an extensive plan to improve its aftercare practices for contestants, ensuring support long after they appear on the hit show, which is watched by millions every night in the U.K., where it airs across two months in the summer, and most recently, winter.

However, the broadcaster has received criticism for its handling of Flack’s assault charge in December. Dan Wootton, executive editor of British tabloid The Sun, wrote on Twitter on Saturday that Flack was “hung out to dry by ITV.”

“She was distraught they didn’t stand by her. And distraught about the lack of support she was given. Caroline and I were devastated to attend the funeral of our friend Mike Thalassitis last year. I cannot believe we are here again,” he wrote.

Wootton’s comments have received extensive criticism on social media, where users are highlighting the tabloid media’s negative coverage of Flack in recent months. The Sun has reportedly removed some pieces of online coverage in the wake of her death. The outlet posted an article as recently as Friday about a Valentine’s Day card mocking the presenter’s alleged assault of her partner, but that article is no longer available on The Sun website.

To Wootton’s point, however, ITV will receive its share of scrutiny in the wake of Flack’s death. The broadcaster said earlier this year that the door was “still open” for Flack to return to host the summer edition of “Love Island,” but has made no further announcements in regards to her future with the broadcaster.

This is in contrast to ITV presenter Ant McPartlin – one half of entertainment duo Ant and Dec – who was fined £86,000 for a drunk driving incident involving a young family in March 2018. He has since returned to hosting duties on the broadcaster.

Ahead of her death, Flack had reportedly received word that the Crown Prosecution Service was forging ahead with her trial, which was set to begin on March 4.

Francis Ridley of Money Talent Management, which managed Flack, said in a statement on Saturday night that the star had in recent months “been under huge pressure because of an ongoing case and potential trial which has been well reported.”

“The Crown Prosecution Service pursued this when they knew not only how very vulnerable Caroline was but also that the alleged victim did not support the prosecution and had disputed the CPS version of events. The CPS should look at themselves today and how they pursued a show trial that was not only without merit but not in the public interest. And ultimately resulted in significant distress to Caroline.”

In October, months before her assault charge, Flack marked World Mental Health Day with an Instagram post: “I’m lucky to be able to pick myself up when things feel s**t. But what happens if someone can’t. Be nice to people. You never know what’s going on. Ever.”

More TV

  • U.K. Freelancers

    U.K. Government Faces Pressure From Industry on Economic Measures for Freelancers

    The U.K. government is facing increasing pressure from the creative industries after it emerged that economic measures set out for the self-employed last week by Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak have yawning gaps in them. The measures may have come as a welcome move for many creative industries workers, but not all are eligible [...]

  • 5/07/18 Chris Cuomo Primetime

    CNN's Chris Cuomo Diagnosed With Coronavirus

    CNN said Tuesday that Chris Cuomo, the network’s most-watched anchor, had been diagnosed with coronavirus, but indicated he would continue his on-air duties while being quarantined at home. “I have been exposed to people in recent days who have subsequently tested positive and I had fever, chills and shortness of breath,” Cuomo said in remarks [...]


    TV Ratings: 'The Good Doctor' Finale Draws Largest Audience in a Year

    “The Good Doctor” ended its third season on Monday night in dramatic fashion with a major character death, and the show’s largest Live+Same Day audience since March 2019 tuned in to watch. The ABC show scored a season high 1.1 rating among adults 18-49 and drew 7.6 million total viewers, a 12% bump from last [...]

  • Lenny Abrahamson Series 'Normal People' Sets

    Oscar Nominee Lenny Abrahamson's 'Normal People' Sets BBC, Hulu Dates

    “Normal People,” a BBC and Hulu 12-part drama, will bow as a boxset on BBC Three in the U.K. on April 26, and will be released in the U.S. on April 29, it was revealed Tuesday. It will also air on BBC One, and RTE in Ireland, dates for which are yet to be confirmed. [...]

  • James Corden Homefest

    BTS, Billie Eilish, Dua Lipa Perform on James Corden's 'Homefest' Special (Watch)

    “Late Late Show” host James Corden used the final minutes of his “Homefest” special on Monday night to speak out about his anxiety over the global coronavirus pandemic. The British presenter, who hosted the special out of a custom-built set in his garage, said, “I’ve found it tougher than I ever thought I would. I [...]

  • AMC-Selekt-OrangeTV

    Orange TV Spain Becomes First International Service to Offer AMC Selekt

    MADRID – Orange TV Spain today became the first operator internationally to launch AMC Network International’s on-demand service, AMC Selekt, bringing more than 5,000 programs to subscribers. Promoted as the most varied on-demand service now available in the Spanish market, the service offers all the on-demand films, series, documentaries, lifestyle, kids and musical content from [...]

  • Lachlan Murdoch

    Fox Corp. Joins Other Media Cos. in Suggesting Pandemic May Affect Results

    Fox Corporation joined other media companies like Walt Disney and ViacomCBS Tuesday with an acknowledgement that the continuing coronavirus pandemic may have an effect on its financial operations. “While the Company’s national news ratings remain strong, sports events for which the Company has broadcast rights have been cancelled or postponed and the production of certain [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content