Update: Netflix, Studio Lambert, and The Garden have issued the following statement to IndieWire: “We care deeply about the health of our cast and crew, and the quality of this show. Any suggestion that the competition is rigged or claims of serious harm to players are simply untrue. We’ve taken all the appropriate safety precautions, including after care for contestants – and an independent adjudicator is overseeing each game to ensure it’s fair to everyone.”
Earlier: Former “Squid Game: The Challenge” contestants are hoping Netflix issues a red light to the upcoming reality competition show.
Select members of the 456 people who participated in the record-breaking series with a $4.56 million cash prize told Rolling Stone they believe the show had unsafe working conditions and was a rigged competition. A group of former “The Challenge” players are looking into filing a lawsuit against the co-production studios, Studio Lambert and The Garden, for workplace safety violations, negligence, and false pretenses.
“All the torment and trauma we experienced wasn’t due to the game or the rigor of the game,” a former contestant told Rolling Stone. “It was the incompetencies of scale — they bit off more than they could chew.”
A recent report claimed that medics were required on the first day of filming due to -3 degrees Celsius weather, roughly 26 degrees Fahrenheit, with contestants required to remain motionless during a game of “Red Light, Green Light” across over nine hours with requirements to stand still in 30-minute increments. Per Rolling Stone, 10 contestants needed medical attention for ailments ranging from a herniated disc, torn knee tendon, pneumonia, an ear infection, and coughing.
Former players also alleged that “The Challenge” was a fixed game, with Netflix already selecting certain TikTok and Instagram influencers to move forward regardless of the outcome of a challenge. The contestants who applied claim they were treated like “extras in a TV show.”
“Instead of ‘Squid Game,’ [they] are calling it ‘Rigged Game,'” one “The Challenge” alum said. “Instead of Netflix, they’re calling it ‘Net Fix,’ because it was clearly obvious.”
Another contestant added, “The funny thing is, equality and fairness was the main theme of the original ‘Squid Game.'”
The series began production on January 23 in Cardington Studios in Bedford, England. Netflix reportedly gave contestants hand warmers and thermal underwear to wear while in the freezing weather conditions.
Netflix previously admitted that three people suffered from minor conditions and needed medical attention but that production had “invested in all the appropriate safety procedures. While it was very cold on set — and participants were prepared for that — any claims of serious injury are untrue.”
Only 288 contestants moved forward after the initial “Red Light, Green Light” challenge and will continue for the rest of the game.
IndieWire has reached out to representatives at Netflix for comment.
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