A former “Love Is Blind” contestant has accused the Netflix show of “inhumane working conditions” on set, including harassing contestants with alcohol and not giving them proper pay or meal breaks. Jeremy Hartwell, who was on Season 2 of the show, filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court last month, seeking damages for unpaid wages, missed rest periods and meals, “unfair business practices and code violations.” labor”.
Hartwell’s lawsuit names Netflix, Kinetic Content, Delirium TV and the show’s staff as defendants. While on the series, Hartwell was not part of one of the six couples who left the pods engaged.
First released in 2020, “Love Is Blind” places single adults in dating groups, where they can hear but not see the person in front of them. During a series of dates, they must decide if they are willing to commit to someone they have never seen. Once the couples choose to commit, they go on their honeymoon and then enter a version of real life, introducing their chosen partner to friends and family, before deciding in the season finale whether to say “I do” .
According to the lawsuit, staff working for the reality show allegedly misclassified contestants as “independent contractors” to deny them the proper minimum wage and overtime pay. Hartwell said the cast worked up to 20 hours a day, seven days a week, and were paid $1,000 a week.
The suit alleges that the show’s staff had “total control” over when cast members ate, slept, and communicated with the outside world, including leaving them alone without access to food or a phone “for hours.”
“The only beverages the cast were regularly provided by the defendants were alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, energy drinks and milkshakes. Hydrating beverages such as water were strictly limited to the cast during the day,” the lawsuit reads. “The combination of sleep deprivation, isolation, lack of food and excess alcohol, all required, enabled or encouraged by the defendants, contributed to the inhumane working conditions and altered mental state of the cast.”
Chantal Payton, Hartwell’s attorney, said in a statement Thursday that the conditions left cast members “hungry for social connections and altered their emotions and decision-making.” The lawsuit adds that the conditions led to a dangerous, “unsafe and unhealthy” environment on set.
The cast members were also allegedly told that if they left before filming ended, they would be fined $50,000 in “liquidated damages,” which Hartwell’s attorney said had the potential to instill fear and exercise “greater control” over the cast.
Netflix did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Kinetic Content denied Hartwell’s allegations.
“Mr. Hartwell’s run on Love is Blind Season 2 lasted less than a week,” Kinetic Content said in a statement. “Unfortunately, for Mr. Hartwell, his journey ended early after he was unable to develop a meaningful connection with any other participants. While we will not speculate on his motives for bringing the lawsuit, Mr. Hartwell’s allegations have absolutely no merit.” . and we will vigorously defend against their claims.”
The lawsuit is a class action lawsuit proposed on behalf of all cast members of “Love Is Blind,” as well as cast members of other unscripted shows created by Netflix and the other defendants. It says the potential size of the plaintiff class is unknown, but could include more than 100 people.
Hartwell is seeking “compensation for unpaid overtime, unpaid minimum wages, waiting time penalties, statutory penalties, restitution, injunctive and declaratory relief, attorneys’ fees and costs, pre-trial interest” and other “appropriate remedies.”