Love Island star Sharon Gaffka has called out the series over what she claims is a lack of Asian representation while adding she believes she was ‘scapegoated’ to tick a diversity box.
The 25-year-old reality star participated in the hit dating show last year, however, she has claimed she and other islanders Shannon Singh, Priya Gopaldas, and AJ Bunker, were not given ‘an equal chance’ due to their race.
Speaking on the Secure the Insecure podcast, she said: ‘I feel like Asian women were taken as a token or a tick box in this series.
‘I felt like I was scapegoated for a tick box 95 percent of the time I was in the villa.’
She continued saying: ‘It was so nice to have me and another Asian contestant, Shannon, there for the first couple of days but she was booted off within 24 hours and then AJ, I don’t know how long AJ was in there for but Priya wasn’t in there for very long either.’
‘I don’t feel like any of us were given an equal chance at anything. It’s all well and good having a diverse line-up but if there isn’t diversity in what people find attractive then you’ve completely missed the mark and kind of wasted everyone’s time.’
Malin Andersson, who appeared on season two back in 2016, Kaz Crossley, who starred in season four, are among the Asian women who have participated in the show, along with male contestants Omar Sultani (season one) and Nas Majeed (season six).
The popular ITV programme has been criticised in the past for being ‘too white’ and lacking in ‘body diversity,’ after viewers described the entertainment show as ‘toxic.’
According to reports, it was recently announced that the show will be accepting non-binary applicants for the first time in its seven-year run.
In response to the claims, a Love Island spokesperson told Metro.co.uk: ‘The only stipulations are that applicants are over 18, single, and looking for love.’
Last year, an ITV boss addressed the ongoing diversity issue and said that including gay islanders could present ‘logistical difficulties’.
Metro.co.uk has reached out to Love Island reps for comment.
Love Island is available to stream on ITV Hub.