The creator of Netflix reality hit “Love Is Blind” is responding to a lawsuit by a cast member alleging “inhumane working conditions” in addition to recent complaints of two other cast members that their mental health needs were ignored, and they were deprived of food and water.
In the lawsuit — which is still ongoing — former cast member Jeremy Hartwell made numerous allegations, including “an excess of alcohol” on se,t
Meanwhile, back in April an article in Insider featured accounts of the poor mental health of contestants during the show, detailing the experiences of Danielle Ruhl, Nick Thompson and others.
Speakig with Variety, Chris Coehlen, president of Kinetic Content, which produces the show for Netflix, responded.
Addressing Ruhl’s claims that her mental health deteriorated during filming, Coehlen insisted that she never shared any concerns at the time.
“These are very serious issues that she describes, and if her recent allegations about her mental health history are true, unfortunately she didn’t disclose this before filming,” Coelen said
In response, Ruhl told Variety, “I will admit that, at the time of filming, I did say that I was in a really good mental space.”
Ruhl also told Insider that she experienced a panic attack, and told producers she has having suicidal thoughts. Coelen, however, insisted that never happened.
“She didn’t inform the production team that she was having any thoughts of self-harm. If she had, we wouldn’t have continued to film with her,” he said. “She never asked anyone in production ever to leave the show. She was free to leave the experiment at any time, as many participants have in the past. I urge all potential participants to always prioritize their own well-being, above being on TV, or participating in this experiment, no matter how great the upside might potentially be.” (Ruhl, however, told Variety she stands by her claim).
Coehlen also addressed Hartwell’s claims of “inhumane working conditions” and an “excess of alcohol” available to the cast.
“Every season, I say, ‘Listen, we’re here to try to make you and this journey feel as comfortable as possible, so that you have the opportunity, for real, to fall in love with someone,” he said. “I personally recommend that you don’t drink to excess, because I personally don’t think that’s a good way to connect with your potential spouse — especially doing it through a wall. Whether you want to drink or don’t want to drink, it’s up to you.”
Contacted by Variety, Hartwell responded to Coehlen’s remarks.
“I affirm and stand by the allegations as stated in the lawsuit,” Hartwell said in a statement. “I will continue to act in the best interest of the class in the pursuit of truth and justice. I have no further comment beyond this as the evidence and eventual outcome of the lawsuit will stand on its own merit.”