A Dutch broadcaster has banned Love Island after accusations that the show is unacceptable in the #MeToo era and encourages sexual harassment.

RTL cancelled new episodes of the Dutch version of the hit show, as well as The Villa — another reality television programme — after two separate night-time scenes appeared in the latter involving men making unwanted advances on women.

The commercial broadcaster announced a halt on programmes "in which sexual seduction plays the leading role" after the incidents caused outrage in the Netherlands.

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In The Villa, eight single people go on holiday in a Spanish mansion and a computer predicts who would make a good couple and matches them. The show is notorious for its drink-fuelled parties.

Two men accosted women in their bedrooms at night in two separate incidents in the latest series. Despite their advances being rejected, the barely clothed men continued to cuddle and kiss the women. One put his hand on a woman's behind and pulled back her underwear before climbing on top of her in a scene broadcast to jaunty music. He later made light of the situation when interviewed.

After the scenes were televised, RTL carried out an internal investigation. It accused production company Blue Circle, which has apologised, of encouraging sexually transgressive behaviour.

"We were shocked to death," RTL programme director Peter van der Vorst told de Volkskrant newspaper.

Scenes from a dramatic episode of Love Island Netherlands. Images / Instagram, @loveislandrtl
Scenes from a dramatic episode of Love Island Netherlands. Images / Instagram, @loveislandrtl

Two RTL employees were suspended after the internal investigation. A further independent inquiry is under way to see if other unacceptable behaviour was edited out of the programme.

"Sexual transgression is unacceptable and should never be promoted in front or behind the scenes," said Mr van der Vorst, as he explained the decision to immediately axe The Villa.

RTL will also stop televising Love Island. A new series of the show has been recorded but will not be broadcast.

Love Island is hugely popular in Britain, where it is shown on ITV2. Season 5 of the series screened on New Zealand's TV3 this year but MediaWorks' plan to produce a local version of the show was scrapped in July, amid company-wide cost-cutting measures.


The Dutch version of Love Island attracted 600,000 viewers, with an additional 200,000 watching on catch-up television this year.

Matt Hancock, Britain's Health Secretary, said that reality shows owed a duty of care to contestants after the death of former Love Island star Mike Thalassitis in March this year.

- additional reporting nzherald.co.nz