The production company responsible for Love Is Blind has responded to contestant accusations of mistreatment and neglect.
On the heels of its disastrous season 4 reunion, Business Insiderpublished an investigative report about Kinetic Content's alleged treatment of former participants, who claimed the show was a "traumatic" experience akin to "emotional warfare."
According to multiple contestants, many had physical and psychological breakdowns after being required to film up to 20 hours a day, often while producers micromanaged their every move and limited their access to food and water.
"The sleep deprivation was real. I feel like they do it on purpose because they're trying to break you. They want you on your edge," as season 1 contestant Danielle Drouin said, prior to several anonymous production sources claiming they were told to make sure everyone was constantly drinking. And as a result of the alleged neglect, season 2's Danielle Ruhl claimed she fainted during the Netflix series' isolated pod phase, after which she was supposedly forced to do a confessional rather than receive any medical attention aside from a COVID test.
Those who appeared the dating reality show also said that producers dismissed their mental health concerns, with several adding that they suffered from depression after filming. Not only that, but former contestants said that Kinetic effectively forced them into staying on the show, lest they face a $50,000 penalty. The company also allegedly made it so that engaged contestants were contractually required to show up on their wedding days and prevented them from divorcing until the season finale.
As season 2's Nick Thompson explained, contestants were "thrust us into this situation without any support, and everything’s amplified,” which continued after the cameras stopped rolling. According to Thompson — who married Ruhl in season 2 — they "literally begged" for martial counseling after their marriage began to fall apart, to little avail.
“It literally ruins lives," Thompson said, before Ruhl revealed that producers also ignored her requests for mental health help after she had a panic attack, despite previously disclosing her history of mental illness and suicidal ideation.
"I don't think that I've felt myself since before filming," Ruhl said, while adding that she's had to attend trauma therapy after the show. "I'm trying to refind who I am because it fucked with me so much."
The investigative report comes nearly a year after season 2's Jeremy Hartwell sued Netflix and Kinetic over "inhumane working conditions" and labor law violations. While the lawsuit is ongoing, Kinetic previously denied Hartwell's claims to Variety, saying that he was on the show for "less than one week" and "failed to develop a significant connection with any other participant" in that time. Meanwhile, Netflix claimed in their own filing that Hartwell was "upset" about remaining single.
In response to the Business Insider article, Kinetic issued a statement saying that “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 has yet to respond to the allegations.
You can read Business Insider'sentire report here.
Photo via Getty / Danielle Del Valle for Netflix
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