Love Island producers have landed themselves in hot water with London Fire Brigade for getting male contestants to dress up – as sexy firemen.
The Brigade criticised the nation’s favourite reality show for conforming to stereotypes after the boys dressed as firemen for a hot and sweaty challenge – insisting that real firefighters aren’t sexy.
Things got heated in the villa when the lads put on their fire gear before stripping to their underwear and sliding down a pole, giving the girls a firefighter’s lift and rescuing a toy cat stuck in a tree.
Further complaints were raised after contestants repeatedly used the outdated term ‘fireman,’ abolished from the service in the early 1980s.
Moaning fire chiefs are writing to producers of ITV’s most popular show to complain, raising concerns the challenge reinforced the stereotype that women think firefighting is for men.
Steve Apter, deputy commissioner and the director of safety and assurance at the brigade, was shocked by the challenge.
He said: “As a programme that openly encourages women to be independent, I am extremely disappointed that the producers thought it was acceptable to conform to outdated stereotypes and repeatedly use the word ‘fireman’.
“Firefighting is a job for both men and women and it’s ridiculous that 35 years after the first female firefighter joined London Fire Brigade, that people still refer to the job as ‘fireman’.
“While we understand that the challenges on television programmes like Love Island are just for fun, we want to shake off these outdated stereotypes and language choices so more women consider firefighting as a career.
“We owe it to tomorrow’s firefighters to challenge negative stereotypes today.”
More than 300 women work as firefighters in London work as firefighters and the LFB have urging the nation to stop using the term ‘fireman.’
The first woman joined its ranks in 1982 and the term ‘fireman’ has not been used by the service for more than 30 years.