As one of the most hotly-anticipated TV shows of the summer, Love Island 2021 has had to live up to extremely high expectations. Despite it being a little slow to get off the ground, last night's episode provided enough drama (and social commentary) to keep us busy for weeks.
It all kicked off during a game of 'Knowing Me, Knowing You,' in which the Islanders' knowledge of their partners' sexual preferences was put to the test. While Aaron Francis controversially stated that he was turned off by arm hair, that wasn't even the biggest drama of the night.
During a round where the women were asked to name their partner's biggest turn-offs, Chloe Burrows, who is currently in a friendship couple with Hugo Hammond, guessed that Hugo's turn-off was "fakeness," which Hugo confirmed, saying, "Personality and looks... fakeness it is." At this point, some of the women looked visibly uncomfortable, with Sharon Gaffka saying, "I don't know why he keeps saying fake."
Things only got more heated from there. In the next round, the women were asked to describe their partner's "perfect type." Chloe described Hugo's type as a "natural leggy blonde," to which Hugo responded, "So I put leggy blonde. Not fake."
At this point Faye said, "That word [fake] keeps getting thrown around doesn't it?" Sharon responded saying, "It's ignorant as f**k," before referring to Hugo as a "pr**k." After the game, Faye criticised Hugo for "banging out the word fake every five minutes," and suggested he should, "get educated as to why girls get work done."
Viewers were quick to point out that Hugo's repetitive use of the word "fake" was potentially problematic, with Love Island series five winner, Amber Gill tweeting, "Was it necessary to say fake that many times tho?"
However, some also felt that rather than making a personal dig at any of the women in the villa, Hugo was simply explaining his personal preference in the same way that other Islanders have done. Journalist Jason Okundaye pointed out, "They were asked about his preferences, he said he doesn’t like fake. He didn’t @ Sharon and Faye and call them botched."
There was yet more controversy when Hugo attempted to apologise to Sharon for his remarks. Sharon said, "I get it, if you're not into fake stuff or girls that look really fake - that's fine. But for me, you don't know the reasons why we've had stuff done and I think that's really unfair."
She added, "I would never turn around to a guy and be like 'I wouldn't date you because of your height or I wouldn't date you because of your race. '"
Sharon's comparison of cosmetic surgery to race unsettled many viewers, with Presenter Henrie Kwushue tweeting, "Sharon isn’t even understanding the nuance between equating not dating someone with lip fillers to not dating someone because of their... race."
Hugo also apologised to Faye, saying, "I just wanted to extend my apologies for upsetting you... There was no malicious intent and I feel absolutely awful that it's come across that way."
Faye responded saying, "The word 'fake' doesn't really brush well with me... My mum and dad, for example, didn't watch me cry every single day from the age of 13 to 18 because I was underdeveloped, to then buy their daughter a boob job for her 18th birthday because I was so upset about it for such a long time."
Faye's story about her lack of confidence and insecurity growing up resonated with a few people, with Cosmopolitan's October 2020 cover star, Clara Amfo tweeting, "Faye should make a mini documentary for ITV2 about what she spoke about, there’s a genuinely interesting story there."
However, some viewers also pointed out how, throughout the entire situation, Hugo's disability was not acknowledged. One person (@rosseireann) tweeted, "Sharon and Faye scolded Hugo for having a preference, compared his comment to racism and ranted about how their struggles growing up led them to getting surgery, completely forgetting that he was born with a disability. Come on, read the room."
Clara Amfo summarised the situation neatly, tweeting, "Two things can be true and that..Get your work done bbz, everyone has a right to look however they want. Hugo didn’t use his words properly. Sharon and Faye’s points are valid and ultimately not actually about him reeeally."
If we can be certain about anything from last night's episode, it's that it's definitely going to go down as one of the most explosive nights in Love Island history.
Love Island continues tomorrow at 9pm on ITV2 and ITV Hub. Episodes are available the following morning on BritBox.
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