opinion | 

Jacques O'Neill made mistakes on Love island but the abuse he has received is disgusting

Remember Ekin-Su crawling along the terrace to kiss Jay while in a couple with Davide? Now Ekin-Su is up on a pedestal and has cemented her place in Love Island history.
Love Island's Jacques left the Villa on last night's show

Love Island's Jacques left the Villa on last night's show

Jacques has struggled with his emotions in recent days

Jacques has struggled with his emotions in recent days

Ekin-Su and Jay previously had a fling on the Terrace

Ekin-Su and Jay previously had a fling on the Terrace

Caroline, Sophie and Mike have tragically taken their own lives since the show

Caroline, Sophie and Mike have tragically taken their own lives since the show

Daragh KeanySunday World

Something huge happened last night on Love Island and we need to all take a step back and breathe for a moment because the vitriol being levelled at Jacques is unhelpful and, in some parts, misplaced.

Twitter blew up last night with many believing that the Love Island contestant “must have done something off camera” and was “definitely told to leave the show by producers”, as if that is a bad thing.

Fans were quick to call him out for his behaviour in Casa Amor saying he can’t just get away with kissing Cheyanne by shedding a few tears now. And in some ways, they are right. He needs to be held accountable for his actions. I get that.

But his behaviour in the immediate aftermath of Casa Amor caused just as much consternation among viewers. He came across as childish and clearly not guilty enough for the baying public. They smelled blood and wanted to sacrifice a 23-year-old rugby player. Read that in again. He. Is. 23.

Ekin-Su and Jay previously had a fling on the Terrace

Ekin-Su and Jay previously had a fling on the Terrace

Remember Ekin-Su crawling along the terrace to kiss Jay while in a couple with Davide? Now Ekin-Su is up on a pedestal and has cemented her place in Love Island history.

But Jacques is being treated like a murderer. He is clearly sorry, and Paige is clearly willing to give him a chance. Keep in mind we see 50-55 minutes of action every evening which has been edited down from 69 cameras over 24 hours. There are so many conversations, quips, fights, flirts and mistakes that we don’t see.

Yes, something happened off camera that wasn’t shown on last night’s episode. But this is a young man’s mental health we are talking about. Would you prefer if he was left on the show to break down in front of your eyes so you can witness his ultimate demise? Of course not.

Love Island has come under attack in recent years for not taking enough action when dealing with Islanders’ emotions and mental health.

Caroline, Sophie and Mike have tragically taken their own lives since the show

Caroline, Sophie and Mike have tragically taken their own lives since the show

Need I remind you that three individuals (Sophie Gradon, 32, Mike Thalassitis, 26, and presenter Caroline Flack, 40) have taken their own lives as a result of the abuse received from trolls after leaving the show. What if Jacques became the fourth? How would you feel then?

Even when his family revealed last week that he suffered from ADHD he (and they) came under fire for excusing his behaviour.

ADHD doesn’t excuse his laddish behaviour or his desire to crack on with Cheyanne, but it CERTAINLY explains his lack of ability to read the situation with Paige and his apparent dismissive attitude towards her in the immediate aftermath.

Social and confrontational situations are hard to deal with for any person, let alone someone with ADHD. Especially when it comes to matters of the heart.

I am not here to tell you to forgive Jacques for what he did to Paige during the Casa Amor days, all I am saying is that the level of abuse is disgusting and unfair. Do I think Paige deserves better? Of course I do. Should she crack on? Yes.

Even Jacques himself told Paige to crack on and chat to whoever she wants. He told her he’d wait for her and see if she wants to pursue the relationship after the show. During a tearful farewell, he told her wants to maker her his girlfriend but in no way inferred that it would definitely happen.

The ball is in her court. And remember she has said that she has never felt a connection like the one she has with Jacques before. And considering she was in a long term relationship previously, it says a lot about the connection the pair had on the show.

Jacques has struggled with his emotions in recent days

Jacques has struggled with his emotions in recent days

I have no doubt whatsoever that producers and show psychologists suggested he should walk away from the show for his own good. He has been box office entertainment for five weeks so to extract one of the leading players in a rollercoaster drama is a massive call. But it was the right one and shouldn’t be ridiculed. In fact, it should be applauded.

It marks a maturity in the show’s progression. Even the lack of ‘postcards’ from Casa Amor proves that they are fully focussed on ensuring (or at the very least doing their very best) there isn’t a number four on the tragic list.

Sure, we can tune in nightly to gawk, guffaw and gasp in shock at the shenanigans and outfits of the contestants. But when it gets to the point that someone is in danger we need to recognise it, take a step back and think about the consequences. The producers certainly are, so we at home should too.


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