"It did not demonstrate how much he liked her. It was possessive and controlling."
We need to talk about a comment made by Jonny Mitchell on Love Island.
Over the past few days there have been a handful of memes of the reality TV contestant and his now-famous side eye, all playing on the fact that he’s been acting, shall we say, quite protectively over Tyla Carr.
Many fans have chosen to see a funny side, believing that Jonny is getting some sort of ‘karma’ for calling things off with Camilla Thurlow to pursue something with Tyla.
But one comment that he made has drawn attention for a very important reason.
During a chat about new islander Theo Campbell’s interest in Tyla, Jonny suggested that he would have to prise her from his ‘cold dead hands’ if he wanted a chance with her.
In the wake of the moment, a domestic abuse charity decided to speak out on social media. Expressing concern over the ‘sexist remarks’ made by the islander, Women’s Aid wanted to use the example – which many might brush off as banter, or even as a romantic gesture – as a ‘warning’ against potentially ‘controlling’ behaviour.
In a post on the charity’s website, CEO Polly Neate explained: ‘When Jonny said that new arrival Theo would have to prise Tyla ‘from my cold dead hands’ it was not romantic…
‘It did not demonstrate how much he liked her. It was possessive and controlling. What can all too easily be passed off as banter, actually carries the underlying sentiment that this man believes he owns this woman.’
As Love Island reaches such a wide audience, the charity clearly felt compelled to speak out and showcase the warning signs to look out for.
‘The fact that Tyla says she was left wanting to run away from a controlling relationship in the past, shows just how easy this sort of behaviour, if unchecked, can slip into a controlling and abusive relationship,’ she said.
Later in the episode, Theo also pulled Tyla to one side to note Jonny’s reaction. He said: ‘He [Jonny] is on you 24/7. To me that shows how insecure he is at the moment and to not even let you out of his grasp, out of his sight… if he can lose his head that easily, imagine you go to a club or something and you get a photo with another boy, he’ll lose his head.’
Whilst we completely acknowledge that the Love Island villa is an unnatural environment – where, we’re sure, emotions are heightened – it’s still important to open up discussions.