Nearly a year ago I wrote an article about Sophie Gradon, a Love Island contestant who had sadly died due to suicide. I am deeply sad and concerned that in such a short space of time Mike Thalassitis, a contestant on series 3 of the show, passed away. Since then, the reality show has faced calls for cancellation just a few weeks before series 5 is due to begin.
The whole affair started when The Jeremy Kyle show was cancelled after a participant on the show died a week after filming. But why has Jeremy Kyle been cancelled due to a death and not Love Island?
Concerns around the aftercare of Love Island came into question after Mike’s death but the show’s response was that they could not facilitate indefinite support.
Social media fame, especially for people who are propelled into it, can be very damaging. We don’t know the reason behind Mike’s death but Love Island co-stars have spoken out about the lack of care the show gives to former contestants. This highlights that there is a reoccurring problem with this new phenomenon of ‘influencer’.
Aftercare or advice on how to deal with fame and especially once it’s taken away, should be in place. ITV reap the rewards from these people, receiving millions of viewers and winning awards, but as soon as they can’t give anymore they let them go. Aftercare from professionals who can advise them on how to go forward in these new-found careers would help greatly and may even have saved Sophie and Mike’s lives.
Negligence in the aftercare of Jeremy Kyle’s participant was also an oversight, and I believe in this case ITV have taken the correct course of action in trying to prevent such a thing from happening again. However, many people on Twitter have rightly pointed out that ITV have taken no action whatsoever in the wake of the two deaths following Love Island.
It’s plain and simple why they haven’t — Love Island is ITV’s most successful reality show. It brings in heaps of viewers and the winners have to give a percentage of the money they earn following the show’s end. It is utterly despicable that they obviously know the correct response — having executed it with Jeremy Kyle — but will not apply it when it comes to one of their most successful reality shows. ITV needs to wake up and realise that these are people, not pound signs.
The tragic deaths of these three people is what we should focus on. If you need to speak to someone, below is a list of helplines.
My thoughts are with Mike, Sophie and the family of the participant on The Jeremy Kyle show.
Samaritans: 116 123
CALM: 0800 58 58 58
Mind: 0300 123 3393