'Love Is Blind' contestant accuses producers of plying the cast with alcohol and restricting their food and water in a new lawsuit
- A "
Love Is Blind" contestant accused Netflixof restricting access to food and water on set, according to a new lawsuit.
- The suit alleges that contestants faced "inhumane" working conditions on set.
A contestant on season two of Netflix's "Love is Blind" has sued the streaming giant, alleging that the working conditions on the dating reality show were "inhumane."
The class action suit, filed by Jeremy Hartwell, alleged that the show's producers "maintained excessive control over virtually every aspect of the lives of their show's Cast."
It added that producers had complete control over cast members' "time, schedule, and their ability to eat, drink, and sleep, and communicate with the outside world during the period of employment."
Contestants on the show were also encouraged to drink alcohol throughout the day and "were plied with an unlimited amount of alcohol without meaningful or regular access to appropriate food and water to moderate their inevitable drunkenness," according to the suit.
The allegations in the lawsuit included avoidance of proper pay, and withholding food in the hotels
Meanwhile, Hartwell alleged Netflix purposefully misclassified cast members as independent contractors to avoid paying them proper minimum wage and overtime pay. The lawsuit alleges that producers paid cast members a flat rate of $1,000 per week, even though they were often forced to work up to 20 hours a day, seven days a week.
During production, cast members were not allowed to take all the meal breaks or rest periods they should have been entitled to as properly classified employees, Hartwell alleged, and were forced to hand over their IDs, credit cards, wallets, and cell phones.
"Producers went so far as to withhold the key to the hotel room where they were staying and direct hotel staff not to provide the contestants with food if they asked," the lawsuit says.
"In doing so," the lawsuit reads, "defendants created and maintained unsafe and inhumane working conditions for the Cast of the shows."
Netflix did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.
The lawsuit also targets Kinetic Content, the series' production company, which also produced Netflix's "The Ultimatum: Marry or Move On" and Lifetime's "Married at First Sight."
An attorney representing Hartwell said in a Wednesday statement that reality television is notorious for exploiting cast members by encouraging contestants to drink copious amounts of alcohol.
"You see cast members constantly have an alcoholic beverage in their hands or within arm's reach and they are shown drinking a lot more than eating, and there are instances of individuals being visibly drunk," said Chantal Payton of Payton Employment Law, PC, of Los Angeles.
Hartwell was featured very briefly on 'Love is Blind' season 2, though another more prominent contestant has spoken out before about the lack of food available to her
Fans of "Love is Blind" season two might not remember Hartwell, given that he was only shown in the final episode cuts for a few moments. Hartwell posted a clip of his "one big moment" on the show to his personal Instagram account earlier this year. In the video, he tells a contestant that he gets "so horny" when he's hungover.
A week later, Hartwell shared an excerpt from a journal entry he said he wrote "after returning from the pods."
"I found myself fighting for breath, to stay above water and not be hurled against the immoveable, uncaring forces set before me," he wrote.
Fellow contestant Danielle Ruhl commented on Hartwell's Instagram post, saying she had learned a lot from "journaling or buying structured workbooks online."
Unlike Hartwell, Ruhl was a focal point of many episodes as she met her now-husband over the course of "Love is Blind" season two.
Ruhl is not involved in Hartwell's lawsuit, but has separately made her own allegations about the reality of filming the Netflix show. She said one episode in particular did not give context for a panic attack she was experiencing, leading to criticisms from viewers.
"I begged not to be filmed during this sensitive situation," Ruhl wrote on Instagram in February. "Nick and I begged to leave once we found out how filming worked. How I was represented on TV is not an accurate representation of who I am as a person."
On another Instagram story (a screenshot of which was saved by The Blast), Ruhl said "there were two days they stopped giving us food and water in Mexico," referring to the Netflix production team.
"What ur seeing is many ppl being tortured to fit a narrative preconceived," she wrote.
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