Paris Lees has become the second contestant to voluntarily leave Celebrity Island with Bear Grylls, following Roxanne Pallett’s departure from the Channel 4 survival show last week.
Transgender activist and journalist Lees departed the island by boat in Sunday night’s episode, citing fatigue. Speaking to her fellow islanders before she left, she said that she was “not just doing it for me, I’m doing it for the good of the group because I don’t just want to drain you and drag you down because you’re all troopers.”
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However, while Lees had obviously struggled to keep up with the survival tasks on the island (in her last episode she turned back halfway through a walking expedition to find food, saying that her legs hurt), viewers have speculated that her decision may have had more to do with run-ins with fellow contestants. This particularly applied to The Dark Knight actor Eric Roberts, who she felt asked her insensitive questions about being transgender.
During a discussion, Roberts asked Lees: “Did you go the whole nine yards and have the operation?” enquiring about whether she had gone through with gender reassignment surgery.
She replied: “See, that’s an invasive question isn’t it? Buy me a steak first… We can have this conversation if you tell me the exact size and shape of your genitals.”
Elsewhere, Lees took exception to Montana Brown calling her ‘a trans’. Lees snapped back: “I’m not a trans, I’m a trans person, that’s like me calling you ‘a black'”.
Brown has since defended Lees from criticism for leaving the show, saying ‘she physically couldn’t do it’, with Lees responding “I love you Lady M”.
I love you lady M ????
— Paris Lees (@parislees) September 16, 2018
Lees’ decision to leave comes a week after the departure of Roxanne Pallett, who has become a controversial figure since her time on Celebrity Big Brother, where she was said to have exaggerated being punched by fellow contestant Ryan Thomas after some playful sparring.
Pallett left the island saying that the smell of bonfires triggered traumatic memories of when she was trapped in a house fire at the age of 16. Yet she also had run-ins with fellow islanders, including Roberts, whose response to her reason for leaving was: “That story… when’s the movie out?”
Celebrity Island with Bear Grylls continues on Channel 4 next Sunday at 9pm