A reality show participant from Love is Blind is suing Netflix and two affiliated companies. He is suing for what he describes as psychological and emotional manipulation. The season 2 participant, Jeremy Hartwell, alleges that contestants were underpaid, deliberately malnourished, fed alcohol, and sleep deprived.
According to TMZ, Hartwell filed a class action lawsuit against Netflix, the production company Kinetic Content, and the casting company Delirium TV. The lawsuit alleges that the show deliberately manufactured drama. The show did allegedly this by mistreating participants, forcing them into situations that altered their decision-making skills.
Hartwell Alleges Love Is Blind Participants Fed Alcohol, Manipulated
TMZ reports that Hartwell is saying there was very little water offered but plenty of alcohol. What’s more, contestants were purposefully filmed while drinking or drunk. He is claiming that participants were also prevented from going to their rooms due to not having access to their hotel keys.
Love is Blind is hosted by Nick and Vanessa Lachey (who are unironically an extraordinarily beautiful couple to observers on the outside). The premise is that dozens of men and women go on a series of blind dates—where they literally do not see each other. Instead, one man and one woman speak to each other from two separate rooms. Participants meet with several people a day and they are never allowed to meet unless they become engaged. They only have ten days to decide if they want to become engaged.
Once engaged, the show continues to follow the couple through life and up until their wedding, which is 28 days later. While some people do end up getting married, many do not.
The question, “Is love blind?” is the theme of the show, or “social experiment.” Producers are trying to see what happens when people are forced to form relationships without seeing each other first. While this seems like a wonderful idea to many willing participants, it often results in disaster.
It’s Hard For Underpaid Actors To Sue Billion Dollar Corporations
Whether or not Hartwell will have any success suing Netflix and other Love is Blind affiliates is yet to be known.
Reality show participants who have beef with their production companies, no matter how bad they were treated, are often left in the dust. This is due to “unconscionable” contracts. They often include lengthy and all-encompassing assumption of risk policies and non-disclosure agreements. However, one recent case did create a landmark ruling which could later help people like Hartwell.
In 2018, a judge ruled on the case of Cody Lundin (from Discovery’s Dual Survival) vs. Discovery Communications. While Lundin ultimately lost his defamation lawsuit, the 2018 ruling held that production companies cannot bar reality show star’s lawsuits. Specifically, they can’t act with impunity due to contractual agreements when the production companies intentionally harmed the participants.
In other words, production companies have historically been untouchable in regard to how they treat people off-camera. But they can no longer avoid culpability when harming intentionally.
Hartwell is notably upset and recently used social media to speak up about his experiences.
“First of all, I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to all of the alum of Love is Blind and other Kinetic produced shows for reaching out to me and offering me your support,” Hartwell says. “To hear your stories and how closely they aligned with my experience is heartbreaking. To hear you tell me you’ve been afraid to speak up out of fear of retaliation is infuriating.
“Most of all, though, your voice has been incredibly powerful in corroborating the accounts in the complaint of an abusive environment. And I am so humbled by your graciousness and willingness to help.
“Together, we will see justice.”