A contestant from the second season of Netflix Love is blind The reality series is suing the show for what it claims were “inhumane working conditions.”
Jeremy Hartwell is suing Netflix and the production company Kinetic Content, alleging that he and other contestants were forced to work 20-hour days and were denied adequate food and water while being administered alcohol. He also claims that cast members were not paid fair wages.
In an interview with CNN, Hartwell said the cast members were “basically locked in the room” for 24 hours straight when they arrived on set, with snacks and water only being doled out afterward. waiting hours. However, she said, alcohol was always available and producers encouraged contestants to drink on an empty stomach.
“The combination of sleep deprivation, isolation, lack of food and excess alcohol, all of which were required, enabled or encouraged by the defendants, contributed to inhumane working conditions and altered mental status for the cast,” Hartwell said in her complaint, which was obtained by People.
“Sometimes the defendants would leave cast members alone for hours without access to a phone, food or any other type of contact with the outside world until they were asked to return to work on the production.”
Love is blind the contestants, 15 men and 15 women, each play outside their own isolation room and are paired with contestants in other rooms. Through a series of conversations, they find out if they have a connection to another player, and in some cases, become engaged and even marry another player without ever seeing them.
Hartwell says the production was very involved from the moment the contestants boarded their flights to Los Angeles.
“We were they are constantly told not to talk to each othernot to mention things while we waited for people to finish collecting their bags and get on the shuttle to be taken to orientation,” he said.
The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, claims the contestants should have been treated as employees rather than independent contractors under state law, since the producers were the ones making all the decisions about how long the cast worked. and how the filming was done.
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Hartwell is seeking unpaid wages plus compensation for working overtime and missing meal breaks and rest periods. She is also seeking class action status on behalf of all program participants.
He also addressed the lawsuit on his Instagram feed last week, posting a video to thank others. Love is blind alum who have approached him to “corroborate the reports of the complaint in an abusive environment.”
Kinetic Content responded to the lawsuit, telling Variety that there is “absolutely without merit” to complaints.
“Mr. Hartwell’s involvement in Season 2 of Love is blind It lasted less than a week. Unfortunately for Mr. Hartwell, his journey ended early after he failed to develop a meaningful connection with any other participants.
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“While we will not speculate on his motives for bringing the lawsuit, Mr. Hartwell’s allegations have absolutely no merit and we will vigorously defend his claims.”
In the lawsuit, Hartwell also alleges that the cast members were paid a flat rate of $1,000 a week, even though they worked up to 20 hours a day, seven days a week.
Hartwell didn’t last long on the season, only appearing in the final cuts of the show, but another contestant, Danielle Ruhl, has also spoken out about how she was misrepresented in Season 2, Business Insider reports.
“ME he begged not to be filmed during this delicate situation,” Ruhl wrote on Instagram in February, talking about how she asked producers not to film her during a panic attack, but they did anyway.
“Nick (Ruhl’s husband whom she married after meeting him on the show) and I begged her to leave once we figured out how filming worked. The way I was portrayed on television is not an accurate representation of who I am as a person.”
In another Instagram story, Ruhl said that “there were two days when stopped giving us food and water” and “what ur (sic) sees is that many people are being tortured to fit into a preconceived narrative”.
Attorney Chantal Payton of Payton Employment Law, the Los Angeles-based firm representing Hartwell, told NBC News in a statement that the show’s producers “intentionally underpaid cast members, deprived them of food, water and sleep, filled them with alcohol and cut off their access to personal contacts and to most of the outside world. This made the cast members hungry for social connections and altered their emotions and decision-making.”
Netflix has yet to respond to the lawsuit or to Hartwell’s claims.
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