Love Island accused of appropriating queer culture after ‘Spill the Tea’ challenge
LGBT+ Love Island fans have been clamouring for a queer spin-off for years, and all their dreams were answered on Monday’s episode.
Well, sort of. Well, not at all.
The dating show, which features men and women coupling up to win a cash prize, is currently in its winter series run.
But the series was plunged into controversy even before it aired, after contestant Ollie was revealed to have a history hunting animals, Sky News reported.
Its latest spell of scandal comes after the first challenge of the series was called ‘Spill The Tea’, fanning fury from the community who accused the show of “appropriating queer culture”.
Love Island featured ‘Spill the Tea’ challenge and one contestant said ‘And I oop’.
Facts about the contestants were read out, and they had to guess who it was referring to. If they guessed incorrectly, they were dunked into a gigantic tea pot.
Oh dear… ?
Things got a little awkward for Ollie in a savage game of Spill The Tea tonight ? Oops! ?
— Virgin Media One (@VirginMedia_One) January 13, 2020
The facts ranged from a member’s favour sex position to how many partners they previously slept with.
But the use of the term, which has its history in queer black drag culture, sparked anger from queer viewers.
Similarly, in the same episode, contestant Mike referenced Jasmine Masters’ “And I oop” meme.
— missing ms minaj :/ (@jjmuffo) January 13, 2020
The two references to queer culture were not exactly the representation LGBT+ viewers were pining for, however.
the most heterosexual show on the planet naming a challenge “spilling the tea” while still refusing to include LGBT contestants? get your own cultural references! #LoveIsIand
— Louis Staples (@LouisStaples) January 13, 2020
— corpsette (@nmjnb) January 13, 2020
It’s making me uncomfortable seeing all the Straights™️ using phrases like spill the tea and and I oop on love island
— hannah (@ohhoneyhannah) January 13, 2020
— Sgt. Dylan Patterson (@dylanapatterson) January 13, 2020
Watching love island and I’ve already heard and I oop and spill the tea being said pic.twitter.com/CooM6ONSbw
— トム (@siixnights) January 13, 2020
PinkNews has contacted ITV for comment.
Is there going to be an LGBT+ Love Island anytime soon?
Since the show’s spike in popularity in 2015, ITV2 bosses, show producers and viewers have all been in a back-and-forth for years over the issue of queer representation in Love Island.
Some viewers have campaigned to get a queer Love Island off the ground, and hoped that after it was announced that 2020 will feature two series that one would be queer.
Moreover, Love Island Australia saw a same-sex couple pair up, whereas last year’s contestant Curtis Pritchard revealed he was open to a same-sex relationship after the show ended.
Nevertheless, after winning Best Reality at the 2018 BAFTA TV Awards, producer Richard Cowles explained why the main series won’t include same-sex pairings any time soon.
“For a dating show, you need everyone to fancy everyone, so if you have gay and heterosexual in the same place, they’re not going to fancy each other,” he told reporters.
He added that he would consider a spin-off “for a gay audience with a gay villa”, though this is yet to manifest.