‘Squid Game: The Challenge’ Contestants Threaten Lawsuit Over Injuries

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Netflix isn’t gonna be thankful about this: A legal firm in the U.K. is threatening a lawsuit over injuries sustained by contestants while filming Squid Game: The Challenge.

The British personal injury firm Express Solicitors announced on Thanksgiving Day that it is representing contestants from the show who are seeking compensation for their experience on the reality competition based on the hit drama series.

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“We have sent letters of claim on behalf of contestants injured in this show,” CEO Daniel Slade said in a statement. “From what we’ve been told, they pushed the boundaries of safety in the name of entertainment. Production companies need to ensure that health and safety standards on their shows don’t leave people at risk of harm.” The letters of claim are the initial step being taken, and the firm says they are gathering further evidence and will then file a lawsuit if necessary. Right now the firm represents two contestants but is in communication with other potential claimants.

The firm added that contestants claim that they “suffered injuries such as hypothermia and nerve damage as a result of poor health and safety standards on set” while filming in January and are seeking compensation from the show’s production company Studio Lambert.

While producers have been served with the claims, a spokesperson for Squid Game: The Challenge has responded by noting: “No lawsuit has been filed by any of the Squid Game contestants. We take the welfare of our contestants extremely seriously.”

Media reports previously quoted anonymous contestants about their experiences filming the first episode’s “Red Light, Green Light” game. While the show makes it seem as if the entire contest lasted just five minutes, the sequence was actually shot over the course of several hours during freezing winter conditions (one report claimed temperatures dropped to 27 degrees Fahrenheit). “It was like a warzone,” one contestant was quoted as saying. “People were getting carried out by medics, but we couldn’t say anything. If you talk, then you’re out.”

Slade added to a U.K. publication, “Contestants thought they were taking part in something fun and those injured did not expect to suffer as they did. Now they have been left with injuries after spending time being stuck in painful stress positions in cold temperatures. 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. One of our clients complains of being given ill-fitting clothing despite the cold conditions.”

The Hollywood Reporter asked the show’s producers about reports of injuries last week, and executive producer John Hay replied: “Welfare and safety are obviously paramount for us. And we’ve taken appropriate measures to look after people. The particular criticism you’re talking about was centered around the filming of ‘Red Light, Green Light.’ That was a big, complicated shoot, and it was a cold day, and it took quite a long time. But everyone was prepared for that and looked after properly. We anticipated and actually strenuously tested everything in advance and made sure we took all the proper measures.”

While executive producer Stephen Lambert added, “We’re giving away the largest prize in TV competition history. It wasn’t going to be a walk in the park to win $4.56 million. But equally, although there were moments when it was quite tough, and I wouldn’t necessarily want to eat in that dormitory every night for the rest of my life, [being on the show] 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, or compared to a whole bunch of successful shows in the States and in the rest of the world. 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.”

Netflix released the first five episodes of Squid Game: The Challenge on Wednesday. Despite the show’s lavish production values that faithfully represent the original drama series’ aesthetic, critics and viewers haven’t been impressed, with the show scoring a 42 percent on Rotten Tomatoes among critics and an even lower 22 percent among viewers (some of whom seemed to have expected the show to be the second season of the drama series instead of a reality series).

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