ENTERTAINMENT
23/08/2018 11:46 BST

'Love Island' Boss Stands Firm On Body Diversity Row: 'We Cast Sexy People'

He compared it to the way 'Hollywood casts a certain type to get bums on seats'.

‘Love Island’ bosses have defended the show from criticism over a lack of body diversity. 

The ITV2 reality show came under fire from many fans this year, who expressed disappointment that a greater range of body shapes wasn’t shown on screen. 

However, the channel’s controller, Paul Mortimer, has stood firm on the casting process, saying: “We’re a sexy channel. We cast sexy people.”

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This year's 'Love Island' cast

Speaking during a panel discussion at the Edinburgh TV Festival on Thursday, he said: “I think on the body image thing, we cast very attractive people. It’s a sexy show, it is entertainment on ITV2 and in the same way Hollywood casts a certain type to get bums on seats in theatres or other shows, the ‘Strictly’ dancers or whatever…

“Also for us it’s a very aspirational programme for our audience. It’s the perfect holiday they can only aspire towards, it comes along at a time when people are readying for holiday, a week in Magaluf or whatever, and we’re showing them the best example of what they could have.”

He continued: “We cast sexy people, we’re a sexy channel and those people by the way, they work quite hard, there’s a gym, we show people working out. There’s also another conversation going on about childhood obesity. If you want to look like the guys on Love Island you have to work out.

“We make no excuses that people more beautiful than us are entitled to go into a villa for eight weeks and find love,” he added. 

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'Love Island' has been accused of perpetuating unrealistic body expectations

It comes a day after Mortimer also hit back at accusations of “fakery” on ‘Love Island’. 

On multiple occasions during its eight-week run, viewers accused producers of staging or reshooting various bits of action in the villa - most notably a controversial kiss between Georgia Steel and Jack Fowler.

“We have producers, who happen to be sometimes in the villa,” he said. 

“We have to feed them [the contestants], that’s where some of the criticism started to emerge because the show is now so successful, people were looking to create stories about ‘Love Island’, it’s not fakery at all.

“It’s just the hand of a producer to create a show people are enjoying.” 

Photo galleryWhere have you seen this year's 'Love Island' contestants before? See Gallery