ITV has been urged to drop contestant Anton Danyluk from this year’s Love Island line-up, after a photo of him wearing blackface was unearthed.
The 24-year-old gym owner from Scotland was found to have blacked up to go a fancy dress event as The A Team’s Mr T.
The picture, discovered by The Sun, was found on the Facebook page of his gym, The Ranch, and shows him having darkened his face to resemble the action series character.
Former Islander Marcel Somerville led calls for ITV to take action over the offensive image.
He told The Sun: “Blackface was a form of entertainment that comedians and actors used to do. But we all know it’s just not funny and simply not acceptable any more.
“In my opinion it hasn’t been acceptable for decades, so to hear that someone still thinks it’s OK to make fun of people’s skin colour is absolutely ridiculous. It’s racist, and for him to stay on the show now with no repercussions is not OK.
“Perhaps Love Island bosses should let his fellow housemates know about what he did. Then we can see if he still finds it funny.
“It doesn’t matter if you are dressing up as Mr T ‘for a laugh’ or pretending to be Al Jolson, there’s never an excuse for it. I find blackface extremely offensive and there’s no place for it in any situation.
“The Love Island bosses vet all contestants, but they must have missed this picture in his social media feed or they probably wouldn’t have let him on the show.”
Many others on social media also urged ITV to pull him from the villa:
A Love Island spokesperson did not issue a direct response when contacted by HuffPost UK.
Instead, they passed on a statement sent from Anton’s mother, which read: “Given that Anton has no right to reply, I wanted to take the opportunity to assure everyone that my son, who himself is mixed heritage, is not a racist.
“As his mother I know he would be mortified to be labelled in such a way, and would whole heartedly apologise to anyone offended by this picture. There was absolutely no racist intent and almost six years down the line, I know it’s not the way Anton would ever behave today.”
Anton is one of 12 new Islanders who were confirmed for the ITV2 reality show last week.
It is believed he entered the villa on Saturday, ahead of the new series kicking off on Monday.
He has already bragged about cheating on previous girlfriends, claiming he has a “medical condition” called “a wandering eye”.
“I’ve never really been loyal in any of my relationships,” he said in a press interview.
Love Island begins on Monday at 9pm on ITV.