It’s not like we’ve all accidentally cracked a friend in the private parts. And it’s unlikely that you’d shout “c**nt punt” having done so.
But for the 16-25-year-old age range that devours Love Island on a daily basis, there is an unquestionable understanding of the incident that unfolded between Sherif Lanre and Molly Mae.
Sherif’s explanation, combined with his on-screen personality and Love Island’s persistent knack for reading situations the wrong gives fans a clear understanding of the situation.
In attempts to look present with any potential mental health, racism or sexism issues, ITV have unfairly created a victim by analysing the situation like an out-of-touch Mothers Against Social Media meeting rather than seeing things like the average fan.
The whole thing is a mess…
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What’s the problem with the word punt?
Throwback to Love Island 2018 and Ellie Brown launched a scathing attack on Georgia Steel, calling her an “ugly c**t” while goading her housemate into a fight by adding “I’ll f**king come at you”.
Of course, Ellie was not evicted from the villa but received nothing more than a slap on the wrist and a polite request to tone it down a bit.
Evidently, Love Island has no problem with the C word. Chuck punt on the end, however, and it’s suddenly worth the type of media storm that could ruin a man.
The problem lays in ITV’s overreaction, as they place the importance on the term “punt”.
Producers, directors or whoever it was that decided Sherif must walk have dissected a nonsensical slang term and dug deep to find the worst possible connotation to tie it to – sexual assault.
With floods of the worldwide population turning to Google to ask ‘what does c**nt punt mean?’, it’s clear that even if the incident was shown live, few people would have called out Sherif for using the term.
Even in an exclusive interview with The Sun, Sherif said:
I’ve never used the word before and don’t know where it came from. I think I’ve heard other people saying it and it just popped out. I know I have been stupid and let myself down but I was not being malicious.
ITV have formed the concept of a victim and villain
What was clearly a joke – no matter how ill-taste or offensive – has created a clear villain and victim.
But did ITV ever have the right to create these characters?
Continuing in the exclusive interview with The Sun, Sherif revealed that he accidentally kicked Molly in the crotch during a play fight. It was here where he turned to Tommy Fury and added: “That’s what you call a c**t punt”.
But even after the incident, Sherif remained adamant that Molly laughed it off and was neither physically hurt or emotionally attacked from the joke.
He outlined the entire incident: “I gave her a jokey look and she turned around and said something like, ‘Do you want some?’ She was just messing around.
“We started acting out these karate moves. She punched me on the arm in a jokey way. I did not hit her back but at some point, I kicked upwards and caught her by accident.
“I didn’t mean to. I realised too late that she had moved forwards. My toes crashed into her groin and I guess the impact of us moving in the same direction made it quite hard, but it wasn’t that hard.
“Molly Mae crouched over in a defensive position and I was worried I had hurt her. I reached out my arm to check she was OK but she stood up and made a face that said, ‘You’re being cheeky.’ I turned to Tommy and said, ‘That’s a c*** punt.
“We were all laughing and kept talking afterwards about different things, I can’t remember what. Molly Mae must have heard it but didn’t seem offended so there was no need to apologise. Tommy and I went downstairs to go to bed after brushing our teeth. Molly-Mae came down two minutes later.
“We all said ‘good night’ and went to sleep. There’s no way she made a complaint.”
If what Sherif says is true, the victim and villain have been created by ITV with neither party bothered by the incident.
Surely, the decision of whether Sherif was in the wrong or not should have come down to Molly.
So whose mental health are we taking into consideration here?
How Love Island has dealt with the situation has been a complete mess.
Failing to clear up rumours and directly addressing the issue lead to speculative rumours about Sherif from drug abuse to profanity in the showers. None of which were remotely true.
Mental health is the topic that has plagued Love Island since its re-launch in 2015 with both former contestants Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis committing suicide.
It appears that in attempts to deal with Molly’s mental health, Love Island have done nothing more than lead Sherif into the lions’ den.
ITV’s handling of the ‘punt’ quickly turned into a witchhunt over what Sherif did wrong. When, really, it’s a simple case of taking the worst from a situation that neither viewers or those involved actually had an issue with.
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