When Netflix announced last year that it was making a reality show spin-off of its hit series about a dystopian competition that pits financially destitute contestants against one another in a series of death games for the amusement of the uber-rich, we did wonder whether or not the streaming platform had entirely missed the point of Squid Game. The irony of turning the South Korean drama's dark critique of capitalism and exploitation of the working class for entertainment into a very real show with a very real cash prize in an attempt to milk the show's success for all its worth was definitely not lost. It was assumed, though, that this came with the obvious caveat that none of the participants would actually be harmed in the process.
As it turns out, reports have started to emerge that a small number of players have had to be given immediate medical attention due to dangerous working conditions while filming Netflix's Squid Game: The Challenge. According to reports by UK tabloids The Sun and The Mirror, a had to be carried away on a stretcher during a round of "Red Light, Green Light" after succumbing to below-freezing temperatures.
“Even if hypothermia kicked in then people were willing to stay for as long as possible because a lot of money was on the line. Too many were determined not to move so they stood there for far too long,” one player said of the brutal working conditions. “There were people arriving thinking they were going to be millionaires but they left in tears. It was like a warzone. People were getting carried out by medics but we couldn’t say anything. If you talk then you’re out. Some people couldn’t move their feet because it was so cold.”
Netflix was quick to downplay the severity of the injuries, issuing a statement that reads: “While it was very cold on set — and participants were prepared for that — any claims of serious injury are untrue. We care deeply about the health and safety of our cast and crew, and invested in all the appropriate safety procedures.”
According to Variety, producers have denied that anyone was taken off the premises in a stretcher but "fewer than five players" were treated by the on-set medics for "mild ailments." One person did reportedly hurt their shoulder after running into a wall, but, apart from a few cold toes, that seems to be the worst of the (confirmed) injuries. Only 228 of the 456 contestants are said to have made it past the show's first round in their pursuit of the show's $4.56 million prize.
Photo via Getty/ Jakub Porzycki/ NurPhoto
- 'Squid Game's' Ho Yeon Jung Fronts New Adidas Campaign ›
- 'Squid Game' Creator Hints at Possible Third Season With Netflix ›
- Chrissy Teigen Totally Missed the Point of 'Squid Game' ›