Fans of I'm A Celebrity... expressed their dissatisfaction with the show's latest series as they boycotted the program over the reported £1.5 million signing of Nigel Farage. The launch of the show on Sunday night saw a peak audience of 7.8 million, down 2.2 million from the previous year.
Many viewers took to social media using the hashtag 'Boycott I'm A Celeb', voicing their disapproval of the decision to cast Farage as a contestant. Farage, a well-known figure with right-wing views on immigration and gender pay gaps, has been a divisive presence throughout his political career.
Controversially, the show's launch in 2022 saw an increase in viewership, despite the inclusion of former health secretary Matt Hancock, who received backlash for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hancock, who admitted to having an extramarital affair, faced tough questions from his fellow contestants during his time in the jungle.
ITV, the network that airs I'm A Celebrity..., defended their decision to include Farage and highlighted that the show's launch achieved the highest overnight audience of the year and the biggest entertainment launch across any channel. However, some fans were not convinced and continued to boycott the show.
The backlash against the show's casting choices reflects a growing trend of viewers using social media to express their disapproval and demand accountability from media platforms. The decision to include controversial figures such as Farage raises questions about the responsibility networks have in considering the impact of their choices on their audience.
As the boycott continues, the future of I'm A Celebrity... remains uncertain. With viewers demanding more diverse and inclusive castings, networks may need to carefully consider the potential implications of controversial signings in order to maintain viewership and avoid alienating their audience.