“Love Is Blind” Season 2 premiered on Netflix in February 2022. The contestants in “Love Is Blind,” 15 men and 15 women, meet their dates from different “pods” and communicate through speakers, unable to see each other. It appears that the show isn’t as kind to its competitors as it appears.
According to Variety, a contestant on Netflix’s “Love Is Blind” reality series’ second season is suing the streaming service and the show’s producers. He is charging them with one of the many labor-law violations. It involves creating “inhumane working conditions” for cast members and paying them less than the minimum wage.
Jeremy Hartwell filed the case, alleging that “Love Is Blind” producers plied the cast with alcohol while depriving them of food and water. The pay rates were lower than Los Angeles County’s minimum wage. Netflix, production company Kinetic Content, and casting company Delirium TV are named as defendants in the lawsuit, which was filed in California Superior Court in Los Angeles.
Hartwell alleges he spent many days recovering from the effects of sleep deprivation, a lack of food and water, and enormous amounts of alcohol provided to him. According to the lawsuit, “Love Is Blind” contestants should have been classified as employees rather than independent contractors under California state law since producers dictated the timing, manner, and means of their work.
Despite pushing participants to work up to 20 hours per day, seven days a week, producers paid them a weekly fixed fee of $1,000. According to the lawsuit, this amounts to as little as $7.14 per hour, significantly below the Los Angeles County minimum wage of at least $15 per hour. The problem was addressed by attorney Chantal Payton of Payton Employment Law, the L.A.-based company that represents Hartwell.
“Producers of the show 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.”
Hartwell’s lawsuit seeks class-action status for all participants in “Love Is Blind” and other non-scripted productions developed by the defendants over the last four years. Payton Employment Law thinks that the plaintiff class might include more than 100 people. According to Hartwell’s suit, the program’s contracts required candidates to agree to pay $50,000 in “liquidated damages” if they quit the show before filming was done.
The lawsuit alleges that reality show cast members “either have a genuine fear of retaliation and harm to their reputation for any resistance to the orders of those holding the purse strings or they aren’t aware of their rights.” It was mentioned by Payton in a statement provided by his attorneys. Hartwell’s complaint detailed what they had to endure.
“Reality show production and casting companies exert a lot more control over the contestants than the law allows for a worker to truly be considered an independent contractor, especially in shows where cast members are supposedly searching for love.”
“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. 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.”
Hartwell’s complaint demands unpaid wages, as well as monetary compensation for missing lunch breaks and rest times, as well as unspecified monetary damages for unfair business, practices, and civil fines for labor code violations. The lawsuit was filed in the Superior Court of California for the County of Los Angeles on June 29. The case is numbered 22STCV1223.
Season 3 of “Love Is Blind,” which was shot in Dallas, is set to premiere on Netflix later this year. Let’s see what happens. To get the latest updates, keep an eye on Thirsty.
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