Laura Whitmore gets real about the “unfair” criticism she faces compared to male presenters

The TV presenter appeared on the Distraction Pieces podcast where she discussed Love Island, online scrutiny and the unfair treatment she faces compared to male presenters.

When it comes to television presenters, Laura Whitmore is one name that needs no introduction.

The former MTV host has seen her career go from strength to strength, whether it’s hosting ITV2’s Love Island or recently announcing her role in a West End play.

But as her status continues to rise, the additional attention and scrutiny that many women in the entertainment industry face also comes with it – something that Whitmore has recently opened up about.

Appearing on the Distractions Pieces podcast, the presenter discussed the criticism she faces and how she’s “very aware that not everyone gets talked about in the same way”. 

“It’s very specific people in this industry that get talked about that way. I know I’ve been talked about a bit differently whenever I was single to then suddenly having a child,” she said.

“My male co-presenters – it was always talked about what I was wearing when I started working – no one’s talking about what they’re wearing. They’re not getting this.

“Meanwhile, the outside world will talk about how you look, what you’re wearing, who you’re dating, do you have a child, should you be doing this and all these things are talked about constantly.

“You have to remove yourself or you’ll just go crazy after a while. But I see my male counterparts not being talked about in the same way and that’s hard and unfair.”

In the podcast, Whitmore also opened up about the comments she receives on the ITV2 reality show and how it takes a toll on her.

“With stuff with Love Island, it’s just a bit exhausting sometimes because some of the stuff is just mental,” she said.

“As a host, this takes up not a huge amount of my time compared to my other work. It’s over eight weeks.

“The host only comes on three or four times; it’s always been the way, but it gets the most attention. It’s a bit exhausting and it’s tough.”

Referencing late TV presenter Caroline Flack, the host added that it’s hard to see “other women talked about online the way I’ve been talked about online”.

“I saw when Caroline worked on the show – what she got every year – and I never knew how she handled it. I always thought, ‘Jesus, she’s so strong.’ And people aren’t as strong as you think they are.”

This isn’t the first time Whitmore has addressed the scrutiny she’s faced online.

In June, the presenter shared a TikTok highlighting some of the things that have been written about her or said since she took on the Love Island job, including the number of flights to Mallorca she has to take and the fact that her salary is often highlighted. She said: “Firstly, Iain [Stirling, her partner and Love Island announcer] has never had attention on the money he earns. Why don’t we like women earning money?”

She also hit back against those who criticised her age and said: “I don’t plan to date the islanders! I’m the host. Age means experience and it’s a privilege.”

While some have criticised Whitmore’s presenting (ITV defended the host after she received over 400 Ofcom complaints last month), there is a clear distinction between constructive criticism and scrutinising someone because of who they are, what they wear and who they’re dating.

Whitmore’s comments only remind us how important it is to continue to make this distinction at a time when male hosts don’t receive a fraction of the criticism, and women are left to deal with a barrage of insults that pull apart everything from what they say to the way they look.

It’s an unfortunate reality that many of us know too well – but that doesn’t mean we have to accept it and not bring it to people’s attention. Whitmore’s comments are a reminder of that.

Image: Getty

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