M-Net has issued a public apology to it’s viewers after the first episode of Love Island South Africa caused a national outcry…
On Sunday night, the first episode of the dating reality show – a spin on the UK and US version – aired to great disapproval.
Viewers were unhappy with the lack of diversity of the cast – 7 out of the 10 contestants are white, with only 1 black female and 2 black males. A social media furor followed, with the show also trending for what viewers claim were ‘poor’ video and sound quality.
One of the major sponsors for the show; LottoStar, also distanced themselves from the show following the backlash.
Lottostar – which also sponsors reality show The Bachelorette SA, which boasts the first black female bachelorette – posted a tweet which read; “LottoStar has taken the decision to respectfully withdraw its sponsorship of Love Island SA. We wish the show and its contestants every success” – Director, LottoStar. #LoveIslandSA
“LottoStar has taken the decision to respectfully withdraw its sponsorship of Love Island SA. We wish the show and its contestants every success” – Director, LottoStar. #LoveIslandSA
— Lottostar (@Lotto_Star) March 2, 2021
Now the channel itself has responded to the controversy, apologising for not meeting their “usual standards”
The statement posted on their social media platforms read; “You called us out on our lack of diversity and poor production quality in our first episode of Love Island SA. We’re sorry, we didn’t meet our usual standards on both counts.
“We are working tirelessly to fix things, and to deliver the magic you deserve.”
— M-Net (@MNet) March 2, 2021
But judging by the comments on social media, for many viewers, the apology is ‘too little, too late’
Many claimed that the channel had a long history of snubbing diversity and their audience.
One tweep posted; “Love Island isn’t the first show. It’s the first one where there has been an outcry. …Also your local dramas are as pale as a ghost. We’re gonna speak out now”.
Another added; “It’s not because we called you out, it’s because you lost a sponsor”, and a third asked; “Can we see the executive team representation at M-Net?”
Love Island isn’t the first show. It’s the first one where there has been an outcry. We’ll be paying closer attention to DWTS, Survivor, The Voice and the likes. Also your local dramas are as pale as a ghost. We’re gonna speak out now.
— Miss Rose (@JustOneRedRose) March 2, 2021
It’s not because we called you out, it’s because you lost a sponsor. pic.twitter.com/7AZgh7l4Pa
— Peace of mind (@SimplyIvy29) March 2, 2021
Can we see the Executive Team Representation at Mnet, I want to see something Also the Executive Producers(Exec Team – Esp Casting Directot & team) of LoveIslandNOTSA
— Brandon Carter (@BrandonCarterSA) March 2, 2021
One tweep even claimed that she, as well as a number of black influencers had auditioned for the role, only to be turned down.
I applied for this & I know a lot of hot black IG influencers who submitted applications (that’s how I heard about the show)…
So folks in these comments need to stop acting like only caucasians applied, that’s impossible considering the ratio of brown people in this country
— @TheRealZeeNkosi March 2, 2021
Take a look at more responses to M-Net’s apology…
This you? pic.twitter.com/rQmq1KcK1e
— Namza (@Mr_namza) March 2, 2021
“It’s too late to apologise, it’s thuleeeeeeeeeee” pic.twitter.com/hZUC57D68M
— siyasamkela ͏ (@siyamtitshana) March 2, 2021
Take that show and throw it in the archive’s as the worst production ever to have been aired….we we didn’t sign up for that pic.twitter.com/TbelYaOuai
— George (@DeeJay_Krule) March 2, 2021
This has been the std operating culture for most of your content since the creation of this brand… im surprised people expected better from you with this franchise… you cater for the 8% but expect the 92% to still support your brand
— YT: Waseem Imam Saheb (@WaseemIS) March 2, 2021
What usual standard?? Please name a show that has diversity in your channel?
— Beverley (@bev_lee8808) March 2, 2021
Since when is April Fools in the Month of March this must be a joke. Cue the laugh track. pic.twitter.com/YXgTJbtN2g
— Buoy Blaise (@buoyblaise) March 2, 2021
One the flipside, a few tweeps praised the channel for ‘righting their wrongs’…
Well thank you Mnet, it’s never too late to write your wrongs. Hopefully you guys balance out the cast, as the way things were done was very triggering to a lot of us. Good luck!
— spread love (@fleurflor_) March 2, 2021
It takes courage to admit your mistake & rectify it. All the best
— Dimakatso Ngoasheng (@dimak8) March 2, 2021
What are your thoughts on M-Net’s apology – was it sincere or not? Tag us on @all4Women in your responses.