Netflix’s reality spinoff, Squid Game: The Challenge has been put on blast by contestants.
Rolling Stone reports that some of the 456 people who participated in the reality series have revealed just how unsafe the show’s working conditions were—and that the show was rigged. Players who were competing to cash in on $4.56 million did so in brutal conditions, spending hours in an airport hangar that one source said was 14 degrees Fahrenheit. These details came to light shortly after the reality show finished its first day of filming in late January.
“All the torment and trauma we experienced wasn’t due to the game or the rigor of the game,” a former contestant told the outlet. “It was the incompetencies of scale—they bit off more than they could chew.” In addition to spending up to nine hours in the freezing metal hangar, players also had to remain still for 30-minute increments in the cold. The conditions in the hangar led to 10 people requiring medical attention during the game.
The players who spoke with Rolling Stone also allege that The Challenge was fixed. The show had already chosen some of the contestants—who were TikTok and Instagram influencers—to move forward in the show regardless of whether they won or lost the games. One player told the outlet that those who didn’t move forward were essentially “extras in a TV show.”
“Instead of Squid Game, [they] are calling it ‘Rigged Game.’ Instead of Netflix, they’re calling it ‘Net Fix,’ because it was clearly obvious,” a contestant said.
The players who spoke to Rolling Stone suffered serious injuries and health issues including a herniated disc, torn knee tendon, pneumonia, an ear infection, and symptoms like coughing. A handful of former 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.
“The funny thing is,” one contestant said, “equality and fairness was the main theme of the original Squid Game.”
Netflix previously issued a release that said three people suffered 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.”