‘Emotional warfare’ and $50k fine for leaving: Love Is Blind stars speak out about the show
Danielle Ruhl says it was a ‘giant mistake to participate’ and she had suicidal thoughts whilst filming
*Contains discussions of mental health and suicide.*
Love Is Blind season two cast member Danielle Ruhl has spoken about her regrets taking part in the experiment, amid a report which exposes the “traumatising” filming experience had by other people on the show.
Business Insider published a report detailing the experience people had on the show, in which ex-contestants called it “hell on earth” and claimed they have been put through “emotional warfare.”
One of the cast members who took part in the report was Danielle Ruhl, who got married to Nick Thompson during the experiment, but the couple divorced a year later. Danielle told the publication she was surprised she passed the psychological screening to get into the cast, since she’d allegedly disclosed a past suicide attempt.
She said she tried to leave the show after having a panic attack, and claims she told producers she didn’t feel mentally stable enough to continue filming. “I kept telling them, ‘I don’t trust myself,” she recalled. “I’ve tried committing suicide before. I’m having suicidal thoughts. I don’t think I can continue in this.’” Producers are said to have convinced Danielle to stay.
Multiple contestants claimed they were left depressed and seeking therapy, and one person even felt they had to quit their job. One cast member Insider spoke to said “we’re not even viewed as human beings.” Another cast member claimed they were made to film whilst sleep and food deprived. “I feel like they [production] do it on purpose because they’re trying to break you,” season one’s Danielle Drouin alleged. “They want you on your edge.”
If the contestants feel like this during filming, many might question why they don’t quit the show. However, the report claims there’s a $50k fine for anyone who leaves before their filming is over. This season, many criticised Irina for continuing with the show, despite saying she knew she didn’t have a connection with Zack beyond the pods.
Posting on Instagram, Danielle added that in hindsight, she shouldn’t have put herself through being on a reality show. She said: “Looking back, I never should have agreed to go on a reality show.” She said she regrets not knowing more about what filming a reality TV show is like, but thought Love Is Blind would be different. “I will always admit it was a giant mistake to participate,” Danielle added.
Kinetic Content responded to the report, telling Variety in a statement, “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.”
This isn’t the first time Love Is Blind has come under fire for its treatment of participants. In 2022, Jeremy Hartwell, who was only on the show for a week, sued Netflix over “inhumane working conditions”. Hartwell alleged the cast were made to wait hours for food and water during their first 24 hours of filming and were encouraged to drink on an empty stomach.
In the lawsuit he said: “The combination of sleep deprivation, isolation, lack of food, and an excess of alcohol all either required, enabled or encouraged by defendants contributed to inhumane working conditions and altered mental state for the cast.
“At times, defendants left members of the cast alone for hours at a time with no access to a phone, food, or any other type of contact with the outside world until they were required to return to working on the production.”
At the time, Kinetic released a statement which said: “Mr Hartwell’s involvement in season two 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. 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.”
The Tab has reached out to Netflix for comment.
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