Former Love Island contestant Sherif Lanre has spoken out after he was booted off the ITV reality show last week.
He told the Sun on Sunday that the reason he was told to leave was for accidentally kicking fellow islander Molly-Mae Hague in the groin area, then joking about it using bad language
The semi-professional rugby player hit Ms Hague and then told fellow contestant Tommy Fury, brother of boxer Tyson Fury, “that’s a c*** punt”.
ITV announced on Tuesday that Mr Lanre had left the competition, saying only that he had broken the programme’s rules.
His exit prompted speculation including that he fought with fellow contestant Anton Danyluk, who he had accused of flirting with his partner, Anna Vikali, in the villa.
However Mr Lanre denied the claims and said he kicked Ms Hague by mistake.
He told the newspaper that he was woken up before the rest of the contestants the day after it happened and told to go to the beach hut, where he was told he would be leaving the show for breaking the code of conduct.
He said: “I’ve never used the word before and I don’t know where it came from. I think I have heard other people saying it and it just popped out.
“But I realise it can be offensive and, as someone that was raised by a strong and loving mother, I want to say that I would never intentionally harm a woman.
“I know I have been stupid and let myself down, but I was not being malicious.
“This has been blown out of all proportion and I have been made to look like a terrible person when I am not.”
In a statement, Love Island said: “Sherif fully accepted and agreed that he broke the rules and that he should leave.
“We have a duty of care towards all of the islanders and as such we would not make public the details of the breach of code.”