Love Is Blind contestant Jeremy Hartwell is suing the producers behind the popular Netflix reality show for labor violations. According to the suit, which was obtained by TMZ, Love Is Blind manufactured drama by forcing contestants to film while they were drunk, starved, sleep-deprived, and underpaid.
Hartwell is suing Netflix, production company Kinetic Content, and casting company Delirium TV in a class action lawsuit. He alleges that the only drinks made regularly available to the cast were alcoholic beverages, energy drinks, soft drinks, and mixers, with a very limited supply of water. He also claims that producers would sometimes withhold hotel room keys so that the contestants couldn't get sleep, and they instructed hotel staff not to provide the cast with food.
Due to the sleep deprivation, isolation, and lack of food and water, Hartwell said cast members were working under altered emotions and decision-making and were desperate for social connections, leading them to quickly couple up, the show's ultimate aim.
"Mr. Hartwell's involvement in Season 2 of Love Is Blind lasted less than one week," producer Kinetic Content said in a statement. "Unfortunately, for Mr. Hartwell, his journey ended early after he failed to develop a significant connection with any other participant. While we will not speculate as to his motives for filing the lawsuit, there is absolutely no merit to Mr. Hartwell's allegations, and we will vigorously defend against his claims."
In Love Is Blind, contestants look for love in isolation pods that prevent them from seeing one another. In order to meet in person, they must first get engaged. Hartwell appeared on Season 2 of Love Is Blind, but he didn't match with anyone; as a result, viewers only saw him in the pods, and not in the real-world portion of the season.
According to TMZ, Hartwell left the show "feeling like a zombie" and realized he was emotionally manipulated during filming.
Hartwell's suit also claims that producers paid the cast a flat rate of $1,000 per week, when cast members worked up to 20 hours a day, seven days a week. This amounts to $7.14 an hour, far below LA County's $15 minimum wage.
Primetimer has reached out to Netflix for comment but did not hear back by the time of publication.
Love Is Blind is currently streaming on Netflix.
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Deena ElGenaidi's writing has been featured in Nylon, MTV News, Insider, The AV Club, and more. You can follow her on Twitter @deenaelg.