The lawsuit, filed in the California Superior Court in Los Angeles, claims that the producers underpaid contestants while depriving them of food, water, and sleep and plying them with alcohol. These factors, the suit alleges, “altered cast members’ emotions and decision making.”
Hartwell’s suit names as defendants Netflix, production company Kinetic Content, and Kinetic’s casting company, Delirium TV. It is also a proposed class action lawsuit on behalf of all Love is Blind contestants and others from similar non-scripted shows created by Netflix and Kinetic.
“Mr. Hartwell’s involvement in Season 2 of Love is Blind lasted less than one week. Unfortunately, for Mr. Hartwell, his journey ended early after he failed to develop a significant connection with any other participant,” Kinetic told Variety. “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.”
Hartwell, a director of a mortgage company in Chicago, says he returned home after the show “feeling like a zombie.” He said he spent several days recovering from the effects of sleep deprivation and minimal food and water. The suit also alleges that the contract signed by contestants states that they must pay $50,000 in “liquidated damages” if they leave the show before filming is completed.
The first season of Love is Blind premiered on February 13, 2020. The show sees contestants meeting their dates in purpose-built “pods” where they can talk to each other through a speaker but not see each other. A couple can only meet face to face after a marriage proposal is accepted.
Love is Blind, Seasons 1 and 2, Streaming, Netflix