Even before it hit Netflix earlier this week, Squid Game: The Challenge had controversy (and a weird defense) attached to it. Earlier this year, it was alleged that contestants were participating in sub-zero temperatures and that some had injured themselves during the shooting process in the UK. Add onto that that some were allegedly unpaid for their efforts, and you can imagine some legal troubles on the horizon for the show.
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That time may come considerably sooner than later, as British personal injury firm Express Solicitors representing a pair of unnamed The Challenge contestants (and talking with other possible claimants) in getting financial compensation for said injuries. CEO Daniel Slade said his firm sent letters of claim to Netflix, claiming the players “seek compensation for injuries they suffered during the show’s filming in January of this year. Production companies need to ensure that health and safety standards on their shows don’t leave people at risk of harm.”
Currently, Express is acquiring further evidence and will only file a lawsuit if absolutely necessary. The firm claims contestants wound up with hypothermia and nerve damage due to “poor health and safety standards on set.” Back when the stories of on-set injuries first hit, Netflix hit back by saying it took all precautions it could and called those claims, along with assertions the game was rigged in favor of influencers, “simply untrue.” But Slade appears to think there’s a good case here, and pushed back on that months-old dismissal.
“Contestants thought they were taking part in something fun and those injured did not expect to suffer as they did,” Slade told The Sun. “One client describes seeing someone faint, then people shouting for medics. We have a case where someone complains of hypothermia. One had his hands turn purple from the cold. Such injuries can have very serious long-term health implications.”
Last week, ahead of Squid Game: The Challenge’s premiere, The Hollywood Reporter confronted executive producers John Hay and Stephen Lambert about the reported on-set strife. Hay was quick to stress that “welfare and safety” were important to them both, while Lambert noted their show was basically in line with similar reality series. “Being on [The Challenge] was a lot nicer and a lot easier than an awful lot of unscripted shows — compared to some of the survival shows that have been made,” Lambert said. “This is no harder than those and in lots of shows you have people sometimes treated for mild complaints, which is what happened in that particular game. It wasn’t going to be a walk in the park to win $4.56 million.”
The first five episodes of Squid Game: The Challenge are now on Netflix, with the next four coming on Wednesday, November 29, and the season finale the following week on December 6.
[via The Hollywood Reporter]
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