The reality show version of the streamer’s hit drama ‘Squid Game’ is proving to be an ordeal for the contestants. Some 228 contestants, who were immediately eliminated from ‘Squid Game: The Challenge’ on January 23 in a game of ‘Red Light Green Light’, provided a memorable story for tabloids, reports ‘Variety’.
The story made it to the front page for British tabloid ‘The Sun’, whose January 25 splash read ‘Squid Game Horror in UK’.
The story described how contestants on the reality show — produced by Studio Lambert, the same company behind the massive hit, ‘The Traitors’ and ‘The Garden’, had been left freezing in a cavernous aeroplane hanger in Bedford, playing a seemingly interminable game where they had to hold statue-like poses for almost 30 minutes.
As per ‘Variety’, on-set medics had been called repeatedly to a scene that one contestant described as a “warzone” played out in frigid temperatures. Netflix was quick to reject tabloid reports of a contestant being stretchered out, publicly playing down the incident.
In a January 25 statement, the streamer said it cared “deeply” about the health and safety of the cast and crew. Yes, it was very cold on set, Netflix admitted, but “participants were prepared for that.”
In a new statement, the streamer and producers Studio Lambert and The Garden stood firm that all precautions had been taken. They said in a statement accessed by ‘Variety’, “We care deeply about the health of our cast and crew, and the quality of this show. Any suggestion that the competition is rigged or claims of serious harm to players are simply untrue. We’ve taken all the appropriate safety precautions, including after care for contestants — and an independent adjudicator is overseeing each game to ensure it’s fair to everyone.
Yet contestants, who spoke to ‘Variety’ on the condition of anonymity, say they never signed up for the physical ordeal they went through.
‘Variety’ further states that contestants, who weren’t paid to participate in the series, said they were told the actual game would take roughly two hours to play and shoot, but instead that turned into an almost seven-hour ordeal for some contenders.
All of this was carried out in an unforgiving U.K. cold snap that saw temperatures drop to zero degrees Celsius in Bedford on the day of filming. A number of contestants collapsed on set — likely due to a combination of cold and fatigue from the eight hours of prep time before the game even started.