Contestant Claims 'Love Island' Same-Sex Kiss was 'Manipulated'

Wednesday July 7, 2021
Originally published on July 7, 2021

Tom Powell and Sophie Gradon on "Love Island"
Tom Powell and Sophie Gradon on "Love Island"   (Source:ITV)

Was "Love Island" gay-baiting?

In a move that seems right out of the LifeTime series "UnREAL," contestant Tom Powell claims producers "manipulated" a same-sex kiss to appeal to LGBTQ viewers, The Mirror reports.

Sophie Gradon kissing Katie Salmon on an episode of "Love Island" in 2016  

Powell was a contestant on Season 2 of the U.K. dating show. He made the comment during an Instagram Live with Simon Goss.

"His ex-girlfriend, the late Sophie Gradon, and fellow contestant Katie Salmon caused a stir in the Villa back in 2016 when they locked lips," he said.

Powell went on to say that Gradon, who died in June 2019, "was the kindest soul" he'd ever met and that her sexuality wasn't an issue for him. He also said he thinks there should be more bisexual contestants on "Love Island."

"I was happy with Sophie being bisexual there should be more gay and bisexual contestants on Love Island supporting the LGBT community. It's all about diversity these days," he said.

Tom Powell  (Source: Instagram)

But he said the kiss between Gradon and Salmon was "manipulated" by the producers.

"The lesbian kiss between Sophie and Katie was manipulated by the show's producers," he said. "The producers wanted the kiss to appeal to the LGBT community. Sophie didn't want to kiss on screen.

It was previously reported that "Love Island" producers shot down the idea of having LGBTQ contestants, saying doing so would create too much of a "logistical difficulty."

"There's been quite a few rumors circulating about featuring gay Islanders, so it's worth touching on that really," Stavri told the Radio Times: "In terms of gay Islanders, I think the main challenge is regarding the format of Love Island," she said. "There's a sort of logistical difficulty, because although Islanders don't have to be 100 per cent straight, the format must sort of give [the] Islanders an equal choice when coupling up."