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Love Island’s First Physically Disabled Contestant

June 23, 2021

Progress? Of sorts.

For a show that’s long faced criticisms over a lack of diversity in its cast, the inclusion of Hugo Hammond as Love Island’s first physically disabled contestant feels a progressive move years in the making.

But it’s a step rather than a leap.

Hugo was born with clubfoot – which makes the foot twist downwards and inwards – but after numerous operations as a child, he says people can “only really tell when I walk barefoot. I’ve got a really short Achilles… I walk slightly on my tip toes.”

This will still no doubt spark conversation both inside the villa and among viewers at home, which will ultimately help raise awareness.

Of course Hugo’s disability doesn’t define him – he’s there as a dashing PE teacher and former cricketer for England’s physical disabilities side, and that’s before we get to know his personality.

But have producers done enough to accurately reflect disability in the modern dating world? Bosses previously told The Mirror in 2019 that the villa had not been adapted for people with disabilities due to insurance costs and “budget constraints”.

The nature of Hugo’s disability allows them to keep disability inclusion, and the social stigma surrounding dating someone with a disability, within convenient limits.

A toned Paralympic athlete who uses a wheelchair? Maybe next year.

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