Love Is Blind Producers Accused of Depriving Cast of Food, Water and Sleep in Lawsuit
Jeremy Hartwell, who starred in season 2 of the dating reality series, is suing Netflix for labor violations and abusive tactics including plying them with booze.
AceShowbiz -At least one “Love Is Blind” contestant wasn’t happy about his time on the show. Jeremy Hartwell, who starred in season 2 of the dating reality series, is suing Netflix and producers of the show for alleged labor violations and abusive tactics.
In a class action lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on behalf of all “Love Is Blind” participants and those on similar reality shows production company, Jeremy also named Kinetic Content and casting company Delirium TV as defendants. He claimed that he was “sleep-deprived, socially isolated and mentally drained” and deprived of adequate amounts of food and water while being plied with alcohol in order to control their conduct and elicit “irrational behavior for entertainment.”
In the court documents, Jeremy alleged that “the only drinks that [the show] regularly provided to the cast were alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, energy drinks and mixers.” The 36-year-old claimed that “hydrating drinks such as water were strictly limited to the cast during the day.”
“The combination of sleep deprivation, isolation, lack of food, and an excess of alcohol all either required, enabled or encouraged by defendants contributed to inhumane working conditions and altered mental state for the cast,” the lawsuit states.
The docs further read, “At times, defendants left members of the cast alone for hours at a time with no access to a phone, food, or any other type of contact with the outside world until they were required to return to working on the production.” The lawsuit claims, “The exploitative working conditions served to control the participants’ conduct and elicited irrational behavior for entertainment value in the final project.”
Jeremy also accused the show’s producers of underpayment. According to the suit, “Love Is Blind” season 2 participants earned $1,000 per week, up to $8,000, for the duration of filming. This amount is allegedly less than minimum wage for the number of hours worked.
“Defendants failed and continue to fail to compensate Class Members and Aggrieved Employees for all hours worked, including minimum wage and overtime hours, as a result of maintaining a practice of requiring Class Members and Aggrieved Employees to work up to twenty (20) hour days, seven days per week, while paying them a flat amount of $1,000.00 per filming week,” the docs state.
“Resultantly, these workers were effectively [paid] as little $7.14 per hour which is less than half of the applicable minimum wage rate of $15.00 per hour, less than one-third of the minimum overtime rate of $22.50 per hour, and less than one-fourth of the minimum double-time rate of $30.00 per hour pursuant to the applicable Los Angeles City and County minimum wage ordinances,” the suit details.
In a statement released on Wednesday, July 13, Jeremy’s attorney Chantal Payton of Payton Employment Law, PC, of Los Angeles said, “They intentionally underpaid the cast members, deprived them of food, water and sleep, plied them with booze and cut off their access to personal contacts and most of the outside world. This made cast members hungry for social connections and altered their emotions and decision-making.”
“The contracts required contestants to agree that if they left the show before filming was done, they would be penalized by being required to pay $50,000 in ‘liquidated damages.’ With that being 50 times what some of the cast members would earn during the entire time that they worked, this certainly had the potential to instill fear in the cast and enable production to exert even further control,” the statement added.
According to his legal team, Jeremy’s lawsuit serves as “a proposed class action on behalf of all participants in ‘Love Is Blind’ and other non-scripted productions” created by Kinetic Content from 2018 to 2022.
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