‘Love Is Blind’ contestant was forced to film in a drunken state, denied food and water: Sue – National
A contestant from the second season of Netflix Love is blind reality series is suing the show for what he claims are “inhuman working conditions.”
Jeremy Hartwell is suing Netflix and the production company Kinetic Content, alleging that he and other contestants were forced to work 20 hours a day and denied adequate water and food while intoxicated with alcohol. He also claimed the actors were not paid a fair wage.
In an interview with CNN, Hartwell said the actors were “basically locked in a room” 24 hours straight when they arrived on set, with snacks and water only brought out after hours of waiting. However, he said, alcohol is always available and the producer encourages contestants to drink on an empty stomach.
“The combination of sleep deprivation, isolation, lack of food and excessive alcohol consumption either requested, authorized or encouraged by defendants contributed to inhumane working conditions and altered mental states.” in exchange for the cast,” Hartwell said in his lawsuit. by everyone.
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“At times, defendants left cast members for hours without access to phones, food, or any other form of contact with the outside world until they were asked to go back to production.”
Love is blind The contestants, 15 men and 15 women, each came out of their own isolation room and were matched with contestants in other rooms. Through a series of conversations, they find out if they are in a relationship with another player and, in some cases, engaged and even married to another player without keeping an eye on them.
Hartwell said that the production was already heavily involved by the time the contestants boarded the flight to Los Angeles.
“We were constantly told not to talk to each other, not to talk about things while we were waiting for everyone to finish picking up their bags and getting on the shuttle for an orientation,” he said.
The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, claims the contestants should be treated as employees and not as independent contractors under state law, since the producers are the ones making all the money. decisions about how long the cast will work and how the film will be filmed.
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Hartwell is seeking unpaid wages plus compensation for overtime and missed meals and time off. He is also seeking class action status on behalf of all of the show’s participants.
He also settled the lawsuit on his Instagram feed last week, posting a video to thank others. Love is blind alum who contacted him to “corroborate accounts of claims in an abusive environment.”
Kinetic Content has responded to the lawsuit, telling Variety that there is “absolutely no merit” to the allegations.
“Mr. Hartwell’s participation in Season 2 of Love is blind lasted less than a week. Unfortunately, for Mr. Hartwell, his journey ended prematurely after he failed to develop significant connections with any of the other participants.
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“While we will not speculate on his motives for filing the lawsuit, there is absolutely no merit to Mr Hartwell’s allegations, and we will vigorously defend his claims. .”
In the lawsuit, Hartwell also alleges that the actors were paid a flat rate of $1,000 per week, even though they worked up to 20 hours a day, seven days a week.
Hartwell didn’t last long during the season – he only appeared in the final moments of the show – but another contestant, Danielle Ruhl, also spoke out about her being misrepresented in Season 2, according to the report. Business Insider’s report.
“I begged not to film in this sensitive situation,” Ruhl wrote on Instagram in February, talking about her asking the producers not to film her during a panic attack, but they did that.
“Nick (Ruhl’s husband whom she married after meeting him on the show) and I begged to leave after we knew how filming worked. The way I am presented on TV is not an accurate representation of who I am. “
In another Instagram story, Ruhl said “there were two days when they stopped giving us food and water” and “what you’re seeing is a lot of people are being tortured to fit the narrative bias.” “.
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Attorney Chantal Payton of Payton Employment Law, the LA-based firm that represents Hartwell, told NBC News in a statement that the show’s producers “deliberately underpaid the actors, stripping them of their food, water, and sleep, drink alcohol, and cut off their access to personal contacts and most of the outside world. This leaves actors hungry for social connection and changes in their emotions and decision-making. “
Netflix has yet to respond to the lawsuit or Hartwell’s statement.
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