I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here! received hundreds of ‘bullying’ complaints according to figures released by Ofcom last night.
Viewers contacted the television regulator over the treatment of Iain Lee, after fans accused three celebrities of ‘bullying’ the comedian.
The second most common complaints concerned animal welfare, taking the ITV1’s shows overall complaints to over 500.
Animal rights campaigners encouraged people to complain about the show, which sees a group of celebrities enter the Australian jungle and take part in tasks to win food.
The bullying of contestant Iain Lee (pictured) received nearly 250 complaints to Ofcom
In one task that attracted complaints, celebrities held live insects in their mouths, and in another a large camel was locked in a small room as boxer Amir Khan searched it for prizes.
Comedian Mr Lee, 44, came third in the programme after opening up about his struggles with depression.
Fans accused boxer Amir Khan, as well as Hollyoaks actor Jamie Lomas and footballer Dennis Wise, of bullying the star.
In one uncomfortable scene, Khan said Mr Lee had ‘split the camp’ and ‘f****d things up’.
After that particular episode aired, 243 complaints were made to the broadcasting regulator – clocking up to 581 over the whole series.
Despite the large number of complaints, Ofcom decided it would not be investigating ITV, insisting viewers would have ‘expected’ to see contestants under emotional stress and animals being used in the programme’s Bushtucker Trials.
Fans accused Amir Khan (left), Jamie Lomas(right) and Dennis Wise, of bullying the star
Speaking on Good Morning Britain yesterday, Mr Lee admitted the programme had been a ‘traumatising’ experience.
He explained: ‘I know it’s a TV show, but I feel dirty coming out of it because of the treatment I suffered.
‘Some people who had drinking problems before going in, have come out and started drinking again.’
London socialite Georgia Toffolo, known as Toff, was crowned winner of the 2017 show after enduring three weeks in the jungle.
The second most common complaints concerned animal welfare due to animals and insects being used in the trials, taking the ITV1’s shows overall complaints to over 500
In one of many tasks which won her legions of fans, she was locked in a box of snakes for nine minutes. Viewers also watched as she ate an ostrich foot and became close friends with Boris Johnson’s father, Stanley.
Reality television programmes have a history of provoking fury among viewers.
In 2007, Celebrity Big Brother attracted a record 44,500 complaints after Jade Goody and Danielle Lloyd were accused of ‘racist bullying’ towards Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty.
A spokesman for Ofcom said: ‘We considered complaints about the treatment of one of the contestants by some others in the group. While we understand viewers may have been concerned for the contestant’s welfare, we found no clear evidence of harm.’
It also said it found no ‘graphic mistreatment of insects or animals’ but recognised some viewers may have been ‘troubled’ by the scenes.