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Toxic and manipulative? Why Love Island fans are torn over Shaughna Phillips’ behaviour


by Grace McGettigan
23rd Jan 2020

Shaughna Phillips - Love Island

Shaughna Phillips - Love Island

Love Island fans have mixed feelings about contestant Shaughna Phillips following Wednesday night’s episode. Here’s why


Shaughna Phillips has been a firm favourite with Love Island viewers since the beginning of the season. Not only is the Londoner quick-witted, but she also provides more humour in the show than any other contestant. However, one scene from Wednesday night’s episode has left many fans conflicted – so much so that they’re labelling Shaughna’s behaviour as toxic and manipulative.

The 25-year-old, who works as a democratic services officer, has been coupled up with Callum Jones since the first episode – but as he’s been eyed-up by two other female contestants, she’s determined to do whatever it takes to keep her man.

Despite the fact that Callum told Shaughna he’d rather be with her than newcomer Rebecca Gormley, Shaughna felt he can’t be trusted to communicate this message effectively. As such, she decided to take matters into her own hands. Borrowing Callum’s phone, she scripted a speech for him to rehearse which read, “So basically, I feel like when I spoke to you earlier, I told you I was happy with Shaughna but I think I need to elaborate on it. I’m closed off from getting to know anyone else because all my eggs are in Shaughna’s basket. And the basket is locked safe – so locked, it’s laughable. Thanks for the time and have a smashing day… PS. Get back!”

Shaughna Callum Love Island

Red flags and double standards?

Soon after the scene aired, viewers took to social media to say that this type of controlling behaviour raises some “red flags”.

“Shaughna is too toxic and insecure,” one person tweeted. “It’s been two weeks – let the guy live.” A second person said, “Callum seems lowkey scared of Shaughna. She backed him into a corner with that planned speech.”

Another said, “Shaughna [is] manipulating Callum. She’s controlling him. Toxic.” While a fourth person wrote, “Love Shaughna for her one-liners and hilarious Beach Hut comments but starting to worry about her… [I] understand she likes Callum the most but everyone has the right to talk to other people… She’s obviously rather insecure when that happens so needs constant reassurance.”

Other Twitter users have pointed out that Connor Durman (another Love Island contestant) was slammed for appearing possessive over partner Sophie Piper, and that there’s no difference between his behaviour and Shaughna’s. “If a male was acting the way Shaughna is acting, he would be cancelled. She needs love but damn, she’s acting so questionably.” Social media users have suggested it’s a case of double standards.

If you missed Wednesday night’s episode and would like to see the scene in question, have a look at the video below:

Photo: Love Island, ITV


Read more: Love Island: a definitive list of Shaughna Phillips’ best one-liners

Read more: I’m watching Love Island for the first time and I have many thoughts

Read more: Love Island: Harmless TV or seriously impacting our self-esteem?