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Friday 19th July 2019

Love Island’s Joe Garratt hits back at claims he tried to ‘control’ Lucie Donlan

Ofcom received more than 300 complaints over Lucie’s treatment

Love Island’s Joe Garratt has refused to apologise for his behaviour on the programme, and insisted he never tried to "control" fellow contestant Lucie Donlan.

More than 300 complaints were made to TV watchdog Ofcom relating to how Lucie was treated by other islanders on the show, which is hosted by Caroline Flack.

Joe, who was her partner before being axed this week, left her in tears after telling her to stay away from other boys on the programme.

Joe insisted he never tried to "control" fellow contestant Lucie (Credit: ITV)

Read more: Mum of Love Island star Joe Garratt “devastated” over claims he’s ‘emotionally controlling’

However Joe, 22, denied any wrongdoing.

He told The Sun: "I didn’t manipulate or abuse her and I’m gutted it’s been perceived that way. I’d do everything and anything to help her as she had a hard time in there and didn’t get on with the girls. I thought I did right."

Lucie, 21, broke down several times on Love Island, leading to criticism of ITV for a perceived failure to provide support.

The broadcaster said it provided psychological support to any contestants who appeared upset.

Joe refused to apologise, but conceded he "may have worded things wrong" (Credit: ITV)

Joe was criticised for telling Lucie to steer clear of other boys on the show, leading to domestic violence charity Woman’s Aid to speak out about his "abusive behaviour".

Joe refused to apologise, but conceded he "may have worded things wrong".

I didn’t manipulate or abuse her and I’m gutted it’s been perceived that way.

He said: "I may have worded things wrong and the cameras are on you 24/7. I’m young and inexperienced. I’m not going to say sorry.

"I didn’t know how I was coming across on the outside. I’d no idea I was being perceived in that sense."

Joe left the villa earlier this week (Credit: ITV)

It comes after Woman's Aid said in a statement: "Controlling behaviour is never acceptable, and with Love Island viewers complaining to Ofcom in record numbers about Joe’s possessive behaviour towards Lucie, more people are becoming aware of this and want to challenge it.

"Abusive relationships often start off with subtle signs of control, so it’s important that it is recognised at an early stage.

"Love Island viewers are now very vocal in calling out unhealthy behaviour between couples on the show, and this is a positive development."

Joe was criticised for telling Lucie to steer clear of other boys on the show (Credit: ITV)

Read more: Women's Aid charity praises Love Island viewers for "calling out unhealthy behaviour"

Fears for Lucie’s well-being come amid heightened concerns over the welfare of reality TV stars, following two high-profile deaths of former Love Island contestants Sophie Gradon, 32, and Mike Thalassitis, 26.

MPs on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee have launched an inquiry into reality TV.

Love Island continues at 9pm on ITV2.

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