Days after its first attempt at a live reunion show failed spectacularly, Netflix’s “Love Is Blind” is facing another public-relations nightmare.
On Tuesday, former contestants on the dating program alleged in an Insider report that they experienced inhumane working conditions and emotional distress on set. The “Love Is Blind” alumni accused the production of subjecting them to 20-hour filming days, rarely allowing them to go outside, failing to provide adequate food and mental-health services and ignoring their pleas for help.
Multiple former cast members told Insider they suffered panic attacks while shooting the popular reality show about singles who fall in love and get engaged without ever laying eyes on each other. They recalled succumbing to exhaustion and falling asleep during dates while working long hours on a windowless set, where they allegedly only saw the light of day when using the bathroom in a trailer outside.
After filming, several contestants said, they were left depressed and enrolled in therapy. One former cast member accused producers of pressuring her to remain on the show after she told them she was experiencing suicidal thoughts.
In a statement provided Wednesday to the Los Angeles Times, “Love Is Blind” production company Kinetic Content said, “The wellbeing of our participants is of paramount importance to Kinetic. We have rigorous protocols in place to care for each person before, during, and after filming.”
Netflix did not immediately respond Wednesday to The Times’ request for comment.
The Insider report surfaced less than a year after Season 2 cast member Jeremy Hartwell sued Kinetic Content and Netflix for violating labor laws and creating an “unsafe and inhumane” work environment. He accused the production of depriving cast members of sleep, food and water while pumping contestants with large amounts of alcohol, according to Insider.
After Hartwell filed the lawsuit last summer, Kinetic Content said there was “absolutely no merit to Mr. Hartwell’s allegations” and vowed to “vigorously defend against his claims.”
While speaking with Insider, Season 1 contestant Briana Holmes claimed the “Love Is Blind” camera crew “literally chased” her down while she was shaking and sobbing in the middle of a panic attack. She said she quit the show that day.
“I’m like, this is too much,” she told Insider. “I don’t want this. I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to do this.”
According to Insider, Kinetic Content took away contestants’ phones for the 10-day shoot and heavily surveilled the cast members — who were allegedly escorted to the bathroom by production assistants. After contestants complained about allegedly cramped trailers and bunk beds where they were supposed to sleep, producers relocated them to a hotel where guards allegedly stood watch in the hallways.
“You thrust us into this situation without any support, and everything’s amplified,” Season 2 contestant Nick Thompson told Insider. “It literally ruins lives.”
Over the weekend, Netflix apologized to viewers who “stayed up late, woke up early, gave up their Sunday afternoon” for the live Season 4 reunion of “Love Is Blind” — which was heavily delayed by “technical difficulties” and then scrapped altogether in favor of a taped program that came out a day later.
“We are incredibly sorry that the Love is Blind Live Reunion did not turn out as we had planned,” the streaming giant tweeted. “We’re filming it now and we’ll have it on Netflix as soon as humanly possible. Again, thank you and sorry.”