While Love Island fans have been busy speculating over why Sherif Lane was booted out of the villa, the 20-year-old has finally come clean, and it’s not what we were expecting at all.
Sherif’s shock exit came after he accidentally kicked fellow islander Molly-Mae in the crotch during a play fight and called it a ‘c*nt punt.’
Speaking to The Sun, Sherif said he regretted his ‘vile’ joke, adding: ‘I’ve been stupid and let myself down.’
However, the 20-year-old has insisted he wasn’t being malicious and never intended to hurt Molly-Mae.
I have never used the word before and I realise how insulting it is to women.
As someone raised by a strong and loving mother, I want to say that I would never intentionally offend women.
I was completely wrong and I apologise.
But, Sherif has hinted there could be other motives behind his exit from the show, continuing:
I was the only black man in the villa and I was kicked out after ten days.
In my opinion, what happened was unconscious racism.
There was, I felt, sexism. I feel I wouldn’t have been given that red card if I was a white woman.
Sherif was forced to leave the villa on Monday, but ITV gave no official reason as to why he was leaving the show early.
ITV issued a statement on behalf of Sherif saying:
In a case of poor judgment, I broke the villa rules and as a result agreed with the producers that it was best for me to leave the villa.
I regret that I didn’t conduct myself in the right way.
Rumours quickly escalated on social media, but went unverified.
Explaining what he claims really happened, Sherif said:
Molly-Mae was in the unisex bathroom about to brush her teeth and Tommy and I went in to do the same.
I gave her a jokey look and she turned round and said something like, ‘Do you want some?’ She was just messing around.
We started acting out these karate moves. She punched me on the arm in a jokey way.
I did not hit her back but at some point I kicked upwards and caught her by accident.
I didn’t mean to. I realised too late that she had moved forwards.
My toes crashed into her groin and I guess the impact of us moving in the same direction made it quite hard, but it wasn’t that hard.
Molly-Mae crouched over in a defensive position and I was worried I had hurt her.
I reached out my arm to check she was OK but she stood up and made a face that said, ‘You’re being cheeky.’ I turned to Tommy and said, ‘That’s a c*** punt.’
We were all laughing and kept talking afterwards about different things, I can’t remember what.
Molly-Mae must have heard it but didn’t seem offended so there was no need to apologise. Tommy and I went downstairs to go to bed after brushing our teeth. Molly-Mae came down two minutes later.
We all said ‘good night’ and went to sleep. There’s no way she made a complaint.
ITV producers are said to have pored over footage of the incident before pulling Sherif out of bed at lunchtime, while everyone else was still asleep.
There were two directors and they asked me to explain myself. I told them we were just messing around but they said I had broken the code of conduct and it had been decided by someone high up that I had to leave. I was shown a straight red card.
My mum asked later exactly what part of the code I had breached and they said it related to ‘any other behaviour deemed inappropriate by producers’.
I was sent home without the chance to pack my bags or say goodbye to the other contestants. I was treated like a criminal over a simple mistake.
He says producers forced him into signing a statement apologising for his actions, but warned him not to talk about what happened once he left the villa.
The producers told me they would draft the statement for me. They told me it would damage my reputation if I stated the real reason I was being kicked out so they were leaving that bit out.
The statement was written in another room then printed out for me to read.
I asked for a few small changes where I didn’t think the language sounded like me, and once they had made those, I agreed they could send it out.
I felt like I signed the statement too quickly and I wish I had cleared this up straight away. I never masturbated in the villa and I’ve never taken cocaine so to say I was kicked out over that is ridiculous. And I didn’t have a fight with Anton, I got along with him.
The tea has been spilled.
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Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining the LADbible Group team in 2017.