If there is one thing we’ve learnt over four years of Love Island, it’s that no-one is safe from turning into a monster.

The ITV dating show is the reality TV expert when it comes to turning victims into villains and squeezing so-called evil from the characters we initially perceived as pure and innocent.

In this year’s 2019 season, it’s Amy Hart and Joe Garratt who have followed the same path of villainy as Batman’s Two-Face, falling from grace and snowballing down Twitter from loved to despised.

Given, the reality TV series cannot pluck personalities out of thin air or force issues such as gaslighting, but they do have the almighty power to pick and choose what viewers see on air.

Joe has been made out to be a monster when really he’s just human.

From ITV Studios
Love Island: SR5: Ep9 on ITV2
Pictured: Amy, Lucie and Joe chat.

What does gaslighting mean?

Joe has been accused of gaslighting girlfriend Lucie Donlan during the course of the ITV series.

In one particular scene, Joe reduced Lucie to tears as he told his show girlfriend that he wanted her to stop hanging around with villa-mate Tommy Fury.

Joe said: “I’m not happy with it. It’s strange. I think it’s time for you to get close with the girls.”

Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation and it was evident here as Joe was making Lucie doubt her actions in a controlling manner.

Reports suggested that there were over 300 reports to Ofcom over the incident – although this would only be 0.01% of the live viewership – as domestic abuse charity Women’s Aid criticised the show and Joe.

However, it wasn’t just Joe who acted in the same way. Almost all of the girl group called out Lucie for her friendship with Tommy, with Amy Hart, in particular, repeatedly confronting Lucie in a controlling and manipulative manner.

But Joe was never evicted?

Sherif Lanre was axed from the villa for using the C-word during a playfight with Molly-Mae.

If Joe was gaslighting Lucie throughout the series, you can’t help but feel it would have been a pressing issue for ITV to remove him from the house on the grounds of relationship abuse.

Far more important than swearing.

Sure, we saw a 10-second clip of Joe wrongly attempting to manipulate Lucie and some clever editing shots where he looked as if he was staring down his girlfriend with The Shining in his mind, but that’s not enough to paint a full picture of Joe or his relationship with Lucie.

Even the emotional farewell as Joe was evicted in episode 14 was almost enough for cynical viewers to U-turn on his behaviour as a whole.

Joe told Lucie:

I do get that we don’t have the exact same view on things. I know you’re different and you’re like a surfer chick and you get on with guys and I’m completely fine with that.

Screenshot: Love Island 2019
Screenshot: Love Island 2019

The Joe ‘You’ memes

Of course, with Love Island comes waves of memes from the hilarious to the straight-up offensive.

One of the most popular memes on Twitter has been to depict Joe like the possessive and creepy book shop stalker Joe Goldberg from Netflix series You.

They may share the same name and can be seen giving similar stares of deep thought yet the memes have been key to building the representation of Joe the monster.

And now Joe is in a safe house?

The final nail in the coffin has been reports – from The Sun – that Joe did not immediately leave the villa but was sent to a Love Island safe house for debriefing about his actions before a potential volatile clash with the general public.

This news of Joe ‘locked away in a safe house’, combined with the 300 Ofcom complaints story, Women’s Aid tweets and the 10-seconds of possessive madness is more than enough to forge Joe the monster.

When Joe does finally face the public, let’s hope they meet him with reasoning and logic. Here is a 22-year-old human who is still learning the ropes of relationships and love who, like all of us, will make mistakes along the way.

While you may feel like you know Joe the monster from a few minutes of highlights every night, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Rightfully, the public has got rid of him for his actions. However, that’s where this whole thing should end.


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Liam Curtis
Liam Curtis

Liam is our head of Entertainment and Gaming, managing teams globally. His journalism experience has covered everything from sport to health and fitness with companies such as Men's Health and HITC. Before moving into management, writing about the ridiculous antics of the Made in Chelsea crew was by far his most enjoyable topic.

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