LAURA Whitmore has been unveiled as the new host of Love Island — sparking a race row.
ITV insiders say execs decided not to diversify, despite previous criticism.
Names in the frame to replace Caroline Flack are said to have included Rochelle Humes and Maya Jama.
But a source said: “They’ve swapped one blonde white woman for another blonde white woman.”
And a TV insider added: “This was a golden opportunity to make a bold statement but it has been missed.
“There have been questions about diversity already. Several people internally have made the point, but they weren’t listened to.”
Irish star Laura, 34, has landed a reported £500,000 deal to replace pal Caroline, who quit after being charged with assault.
Laura, who dates Love Island narrator Iain Stirling, 31, will host its first winter edition in South Africa next month.
She said: “To say I’m excited is an understatement.
“I want to thank ITV for trusting me at the helm of this huge show.
“I wish it was in better circumstances; Caroline is a brilliant host and also a friend.
“We’ve spoken a lot in the last few days since she stepped down. She has been very kind to me and strongly pushed me for this role.
“I know I have big boots to fill. I will try and do it justice.”
Iain joked on Instagram: “The new Love Island host seems nice. I wonder if she’s single.”
Caroline, 40, stepped down after being charged with assault over an alleged bust-up with boyfriend Lewis Burton.
She posted on Instagram yesterday: “I’m glad it’s Laura — she loves the show as much as I do.
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“Again, thank you for your messages of support. It’s a really rough time but I’m doing all I can to keep my head above water and sort this out.”
Love Island has faced questions over diversity, with several non-white contestants struggling to meet matches and allegedly given less screen time than white co-stars.