Former Love Island contestant Sherif Lanre has accused the show's producers of having an unconscious bias with regards to race and gender and claims that people of colour get "less air time".

Last week, Lanre was removed from the reality TV series after "breaking the villa rules" and he has now spoken out about the show in an interview with BBC Two's Victoria Derbyshire.

"I feel like the air time which the contestants of my race and races similar to mine was very disproportionate to our value in the villa. I feel like we did a lot more to keep the villa together and we did a lot more socially than what was aired", he said.

"I do feel statistically they get less air time, why that is is down to the people in charge, the producers, they obviously want to give the viewers the content that they feel they want."

A spokesperson for Love Island responded by saying: "We would strongly refute any accusation of racism and we are unaware of any other Islanders using racist language.

"All of the Islanders are treated fairly and in accordance with our duty of care. We would like this to be made abundantly clear."

Lanre said he agreed with the show's producers that he should leave the villa after he accidentally hit a female contestant and used a vulgar word.

Sherif Lanre sent home from the villa after using a vulgar word

However, he said his actions were taken "completely out of context" and said that women are less likely to be penalised than men.

When asked by Derbyshire about last year's series of the show, when the contestant Ellie Brown used the same curse word in a fight with Georgia Steel but was not removed from the programme, Lanre said: "I feel that the people who are in charge of the show maybe have an unconscious bias around rules and regulations for boys and girls, and maybe different races and stuff like that.

"But I feel like with the Ellie situation, I didn't even know about it until I came home, but, yes, I feel like in that instance it was directed at someone and that was used with a bit more malicious intent, whereas mine was used more as kind of like a joke, but in hindsight it wasn't acceptable and it's quite a vile word."

Lanre also said that his bottom was "slapped a few times" by women while he was in the villa and said that that behaviour would not be tolerated by a man.

He said: "But I feel like if that was a boy doing that to a girl in the villa, it might have been seen a different way.

"It's all to do with the perspective of the people who are in charge of the show."

On the suggestion of sexism, the Love Island spokesperson said: "We take any instance of inappropriate behaviour very seriously and we speak to all of the islanders to remind them of what we condone to be acceptable behaviour during their time on the show.

"Sherif fully accepted and agreed that he broke the rules and that he should leave. We have a duty of care towards all of the Islanders and as such we would not make public the details of the breach of code." 

Love Island continues on Virgin Media Two and ITV2.

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