By Ash Percival
Love Island’s Ollie Williams has denied ever being “trophy hunter” following a backlash to pictures of him posing with dead animals.
The Cornish land owner found himself at the centre of controversy when the photos surfaced in the press, prompting Ofcom complaints and an online petition calling for him to be removed from the show.
As the backlash against him refused to die down, it was announced Ollie had decided to leave the ITV2 show, claiming to still be in love with his ex girlfriend.
This led to speculation the controversy may be the real reason for his departure, but he has now corroborated ITV’s previous claims that this was not the case.
In a statement, he said: “Having left the Love Island house I have become aware of the press stories circulating in the UK. I would like to make a number of comments on the various claims and accusations.
“I had no knowledge of the stories until I had left the Love Island villa and all cast members are unaware of any news stories while they are on the programme.
“My reasons for leaving Love Island are as communicated on the show.”
The photos showed the 23-year-old posing next to a dead warthog, water buffalo and giant eland, with The Sun claiming he had been promoting his hunting business Cornish Sporting Agency.
But addressing the matter directly in his statement, Ollie said: “I did not shoot any of the animals shown in the photographs nor have I ever shot as a trophy hunter.
“I did volunteer to take part in the conservation and anti-poaching programme in Mozambique, a part off which involves old or sick animals being culled. I was there as an observer.”
He continued: “The Cornish Sporting Agency was set up in 2017 and has never traded. I feel very passionately about conservation and will continue to support sustainable conservation causes around the globe. These benefit the natural world and the animals which live within it, even if certain elements appear controversial when viewed out of context.
“As I am no longer in Love Island, I will comment no further on this issue,” he added.
More to follow…