Love Island star rebukes claim historic same-sex kiss was ‘manipulated by producers’

Katie Salmon Love Island

Love Island star Katie Salmon has rebuked recent allegations that her kiss with the late Sophie Gratton was “manipulated” by producers.

Salmon appeared in the 2016 season of the British reality show after being voted in and coupled up with Gradon, who was previously partnered with Tom Powell. The pair went on a date, shared a kiss in the iconic villa and were Love Island‘s first – and to date, only – same-sex couple.

The Mirror recently reported that Powell claimed Love Island‘s producers “massively” pressured Gradon, who was openly bisexual, into kissing Salmon. He told Simon Gross during his Love Island Extra Show on Instagram that Gradon “didn’t want to kiss Katie”, and he added Salmon “even told me this afterwards that Sophie said ‘no'”.

However, Salmon has hit back at these allegations, telling PinkNews that “this information is false”. The former Love Island star, who is bisexual, shared that she had not spoken to Powell about this alleged interaction, adding her relationship with Gradon was “completely natural”.

“I haven’t ever spoken to Tom off the show or on the show apart from a bust up that happened on television,” Salmon told PinkNews.

She continued: “The relationship that happened between me and Sophie was completely natural and real, and I don’t think he should be making comments regarding a relationship/connection that he wasn’t a part of, or speak on behalf of us for that matter.”

Love Island Sophie Gradon Katie Salmon

Love Island contestants Sophie Gradon and Katie Salmon share a kiss during the 2016 season of the reality dating show. (YouTube/Love Island)

According to The Mirror, Powell claimed Love Island’s producers had “convinced” Gradon to participate in the kiss because “it would be great” for the “LGBT community if they kissed”.

“The first ‘gay couple’, first ‘bisexual couple’ on TV, and it would be this massive thing for the community,” Powell claimed, the Mirror reported.

Gradon tragically died in 2018 at the age of 32. She was a shining star on Love Island and had a thriving beauty pageant career outside her role on the show.

At the time, Salmon paid tribute to her ex-girlfriend, saying the world had “failed” the late star. In a lengthy post on Twitter, she implored people to “be kind to every person they meet and speak with on social media and in person”. She added that a “simple smile” or “nice comment” can “make a difference”.