Vicky Pattinson has cautioned fans of reality television shows such as Love Island against writing hateful comments online about individual contestants, emphasising that their words have direct consequences.
The TV star referenced the two suicides of Mike Thalassitis and Sophie Gradon following struggles with mental health, emphasising the fact that these television personalities are human.
The star has faced online vitriol as a result of her roles on Geordie Shore, Ex On The Beach and I'm a Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!, so she has a level of empathy for those who essentially become famous overnight.
Posting an image of the two former Love Island contestants to her Instagram, Vicky wrote;
"What do you see here?! Let me tell you what I see; two beautiful, charismatic, fun loving and young people who should have had the world at their feet and their whole lives ahead of them. Instead, they left this world all too soon not knowing just how loved they were."
"Now I haven’t managed to catch any of this year’s Love Island. I’ve barely been in the country since it started. But I still read the news, follow the fan accounts, and my group chats still go off every time it’s on… what I’m saying is it is impossible to avoid the reality TV juggernaut." Vicky continued.
"I just want to say I think the show is great- and I’m friends with so many of the ex-Islanders who I love a lot. But today I made the mistake of reading some people’s comments on social media when I couldn’t sleep and I’m not going to lie I was both shocked and saddened by what I read."
Love Island bosses have stepped up mental health services for the contestants, and even cite 'mental health pressures' in the contract.
Vicky warns those who use social media to use caution, and remember that the contestants do read the hateful things written about themselves online;
"Regardless of who your favourite is on this show, who you ‘ship’, who you want to win, if you’re mad that someone’s left, or angry someone stayed, no matter what you actually may think or be saying in your group chat with your mates I urge you to be more mindful across social media."
The show has come under immense scrutiny after two Islanders took their own lives when their time on the show ended, and the emphasis on body image or physical appearance can cause mental health stress.
"Have we not witnessed the detrimental and irreversible affect our thoughtless words and reckless opinions can have on someone’s mental health?! Why are people still attacking these islanders with such verbal vitriol?!" Vicky said.
"Do you know them personally?! Of course not! Have they done anything to warrant it?! No way. Are they human?! YES! These people are no different to you and me and they have feelings and these hateful comments with have ramifications we can’t even begin to understand."
Mike Thalassitis, who appeared on Love Island 2017, was found dead in a woodland park near his London home in March. Questions arose about the show's aftercare following the 26-year-old's death.
32-year-old Sophie Gradon died in June of 2018 after struggling with depression. The former Miss Great Britain took part in the show in 2016. She was found dead by her boyfriend, who took his own life 20 days later.
She explained to a friend that she 'wanted to escape' and had 'sold her soul' to appear on the infamous ITV2 show.
Despite these deaths and warnings to be careful of what you write about reality stars online, Vicky pointed out that the hateful vitriol has continued.
"It’s so ludicrous to me that after everything that’s happened this past year I’m still having to urge people to be kind but here we are. We have lost too many people and I know this isn’t confined to the world of reality TV."
"Through the callous words of individuals, online hate and cyber bullying we are breaking people, destroying them and it has to stop. Think before you type. Your words have gravity.
"Please be better than this internet culture of hate. Do not allow it to breed. Be kind, be compassionate. Be human. Let’s put the ‘love’ back in Love Island for Sophie & Mike."
Feature image: Instagram/@vickypattinson