Love Is Blind has a huge mess on its hands — and we’re not just talking about that botched live finale.
Days after Netflix apologized for Season 4’s delayed live reunion, the hit dating show is facing fresh controversies. Business Insider published a report on Tuesday in which past contestants detail alleged mistreatment by producers. Plus, a Change.org petition is gaining steam that calls for Nick and Vanessa Lachey’s removal as hosts.
Here’s what you need to know about the scandal engulfing Netflix’s popular reality series.
Former cast members claim LIB is “hell on earth”
Contestants from prior seasons spoke on the record, claiming to Business Insider that they were deprived of food, water and sleep while filming. They accused producers of subjecting them to 20-hour filming days. And Season 2 contestant Danielle Ruhl levied some serious accusations about how people behind-the-scenes handled her mental health.
Ruhl claimed she tried to leave LIB after suffering a panic attack, and despite previously informing producers about a past suicide attempt, was convinced to stay under the promise she’d be a fan-favorite.
“I kept telling them, ‘I don’t trust myself. I’ve tried committing suicide before. I’m having suicidal thoughts. I don’t think I can continue in this,'” she recalled. (Ruhl married, and later divorced, Nick Thompson.)
Season 1 contestant Danielle Drouin claimed producers deprived them of sleep “on purpose because they’re trying to break you. They want you on your edge.”
Kinetic Content denies claims in the report
“The wellbeing of our participants is of paramount importance to Kinetic. We have rigorous protocols in place to care for each person before, during, and after filming,” the production company said in a statement to Variety.
Netflix did not return Yahoo Entertainment’s request for comment.
This isn’t the first time Kinetic Content has faced such allegations. Last year, Season 2 cast member Jeremy Hartwell sued the company and Netflix for violating labor laws and creating an “unsafe and inhumane” work environment.
“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 said in a statement at the time. “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.”
Thousands of fans want the Lacheys gone
Nick and Vanessa have received plenty of criticism throughout their four seasons as hosts, but backlash really ramped up in recent weeks. More than 22,000 people (and counting) signed a petition calling for Netflix to axe the stars.
“From the initial season, the hosts felt pretty useless and out of place. They seem to be much more concerned with directing as much attention at themselves and their personal lives rather than focusing on the contestants that are actually participating in the experiment. Many enjoy the show but it’s being held back from its full potential with cringy Nick and Vanessa Lachey,” the Change.org petition reads.
Organizers called Vanessa “domineering” and that she tries “to gain as much camera time as possible by cutting into every conversation, speaking over her husband and contestants, and very badly acting like she cares about members of the cast.”
“Understandably, in the beginning LIB sought out any C-list celebrities to put their show on the map. Now three seasons in with a cult following and international versions of the show, it is time to upgrade to hosts that don’t make you want to turn off the show every time they speak. For a show that is attempting to be reality TV, Vanessa and Nick make it feel fake, cringy, and poorly produced.”
Vanessa faces backlash over ‘inappropriate’ baby fever
Twitter seemed particularly enraged at Vanessa this past season. USA Today published an article on Wednesday titled, “Vanessa Lachey’s ‘Love Is Blind’ baby fever made viewers cringe. The pressure is a problem,” that looks at her remarks to contestants about starting a family. MSNBC published a similar piece.
Then, there was that broken livestream
Fans who tuned in on Sunday to watch their favorite couples (and non-couples) from the pods dish on Season 4 had to wait more than 75 minutes for the reunion to begin due to technical difficulties.
When the show didn’t start at 8 p.m. ET, Netflix told viewers to hang on 15 more minutes. Seven minutes passed and Netflix promised “#LoveIsBlindLIVE will be worth the wait….” The Lacheys chimed in about 30 minutes later.
“Everybody broke the internet to see this reunion,” Vanessa said in an Instagram video. “So we are ready to roll. We just got to figure this out. We’re getting everything to work. We are not asking any questions to anybody until we’re streaming live into your living rooms, onto your phones, onto your tablets, [or] whatever you’re watching on.”
The episode was finally taped almost an hour and a half later — but not everyone got to see it. It was only Netflix’s second-ever live event, which clearly did not go according to plan. The streaming giant issued an apology on Sunday night after social media’s meltdown.
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