Love Island newcomer George Fensom has apologised after a series of homophobic tweets resurfaced online.

Fensom, a business development executive from Bradford, was revealed as part of the dating show’s new cast earlier this week. Shortly after, old tweets in which he used homophobic language – including the f-slur – circulated on social media.

The controversy prompted Love Island fans to demand his removal from the upcoming series, which premieres Monday 5 June on ITV.

In a statement, Fensom said he feels “absolutely sick about those tweets” and that his past behaviour doesn’t represent “who I am today”.

“They couldn’t be any further from the man I am today and, quite frankly, if I could turn back time I wouldn’t even have put those [online],” he explained.

“To be honest with you, it’s me being really naive at that age. I made the account back in 2011, so it’s just stupidity on my behalf and doesn’t reflect on who I am today at all.”

Addressing the backlash online, Fensom continued: “In regards to people saying that I’m not right for the villa, all I would say is this, everyone’s made mistakes. Everyone has said things that they regret.

“The difference in the way that I’ll defend myself is the way that I’m owning that and I’ve admitted that that was the wrong thing to say.

“If I could turn back time then I wouldn’t have said the things that I said. That’s all I can do to defend myself and say in this scenario.”

A spokesperson for ITV told Cosmopolitan UK that, ahead of their debut in the villa, Islanders are provided training and guidance to “mutually respectful behaviour in relationships, behaviour patterns associated with controlling and coercive behaviour and language around disability, sexuality, race and ethnicity, and microaggressions”.

“First introduced ahead of Series 8 in 2022, these discussions will tackle topics including inclusive language and behaviour, creating safe spaces and being a good ally,” they said.

Fensom described the training videos as “beneficial because it just refreshes your memory on what is acceptable and what isn’t acceptable,” adding: “It’s really to constantly refresh and to think actually, these are the wrong ways and these are the right ways.”