The show’s production broadly denied the claims, but the show’s creator spoke with Variety to officially clear the air.
Did production know about Danielle’s struggles?
Kinetic Content’s CEO, Chris Coelen, said regarding Danielle, “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.” Danielle did concede that she didn’t note her struggles on her application but had told production.
She explained, “I had conversations with producers. I had conversations with therapists, but to their point, it was nothing that had been written down, so whether or not something had been communicated to them, I don’t know.” She also conceded that, at the time of filming, she told producers she was in a good place mentally.
However, Coelen disputed, saying, “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. She never asked anyone in production ever to leave the show. She was free to leave the experiment at any time … I urge all potential participants to always prioritize their own well-being.”
What about the exit fee?
Coelen also said that Kinetic Content has repeatedly offered to pay for Danielle’s therapy after her time on the show, but she has yet to take them up on that offer. The offer still stands according to the CEO. He added, “We consistently reiterate to people at the end of their time in the experiment, ‘We really urge you to seek aftercare.’”
Danielle also mentioned an enormous fine she’d have to pay if she exited the show. Coelen explained the fine does technically exist. Everyone who’s ever left the show did so without being fined, even though there was a clause in their contract entailing a $50,000 penalty. “We never have enforced it. We’ve never threatened to enforce it.”
Coelen also said Kinetic Content removed the clause from recent seasons’ contracts. He went on to explain how transparent production is about the conditions contestants will face. He also cited an instance of upgrading living conditions after one contestant saw a cockroach.
Excess alcohol and inhumane conditions
As for claims of the excess alcohol on set, Coelen said he encouraged contestants to drink very little. “Every season, I say, ‘Listen, we’re here to try to make you and this journey feel as comfortable as possible … I personally recommend that you don’t drink to excess … Whether you want to drink or don’t want to drink, it’s up to you.”
Jeremy Hartwell made the alcohol claims, among other claims of inhumane treatment. Coelen said he was shocked by Jeremy’s lawsuit because Jeremy reportedly loved his time on the show. When he was told to pack his bags, he “started crying,” according to the CEO. “He literally begged and pleaded us to stay in the pods.”
Variety reached out to Jeremy who said, “I affirm and stand by the allegations as stated in the lawsuit. 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.”
Love Is Blind Season 5 continues Fridays on Netflix.
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