It was a dangerous game show.
Netflix is defending their reality series “Squid Game: The Challenge” after it allegedly became too close to the fictional source material — with players allegedly getting stretchered away as the set turned into a frigid “warzone.”
The scandal broke while the streaming platform was in the UK secretly filming the much-awaited game show, based on the hit series of the same name, in which 456 contestants compete for an approximately $4.5 million cash prize. The mercury had dropped to 3 degrees C (26.6 Fahrenheit) during shooting, allegedly resulting in players getting injured — although Netflix claims that’s not the case.
“While it was very cold on set – and participants were prepared for that – any claims of serious injury are untrue,” Netflix and producers Studio Lambert and the Garden assured the public in a statement, Deadline reported. “We care deeply about the health and safety of our cast and crew, and invested in all the appropriate safety procedures.”
Their statement conflicted with participants claiming that players felt unwell after remaining motionless for hours in freezing weather during a reenactment of the children’s game “Red Light Green Light,” the Sun reported.
“It was like a warzone,” described one appalled contestant while another claimed that “some people couldn’t move their feet because it was so cold.”
“You could hear someone yell ‘medic’ and the crew would rush on,” they added. “We ended up standing there for 30 minutes between takes. Some were crawling by the end. At least one was carried out on a stretcher.”
Indeed, despite the allegedly appalling conditions, contestants refused to move or protest, either of which is grounds for disqualification, per the rules of the game.
“Even if hypothermia kicked in then people were willing to stay for as long as possible because a lot of money was on the line,” claimed one aghast contestant. “Too many were determined not to move so they stood there for far too long.
They added, “There were people arriving thinking they were going to be millionaires but they left in tears.”
According to the Sun, hundreds of contestants were eliminated in the first round of the “Squid Game,” a show which saw hopefuls fly in from as far as Australia and the US to compete.
Billed as the “biggest reality competition series ever created,” “The Challenge” is a near-perfect doppelganger to “Squid Game” from the competitions, the spartan bunk beds, to the creepy animatronic doll that barks orders during “Red Light Green Light.”
Thankfully, unlike in “SG,” contestants don’t die upon being eliminated — at least not yet — in the ten-episode series, which is slated to resume filming next month.
‘Squid Game’ took the world by storm with [director] Hwang Dong-hyuk’s captivating story and iconic imagery,” Netflix VP Brandon Rieg said in a statement over the summer. “We’re grateful for his support as we turn the fictional world into reality in this massive competition and social experiment.”
They were also undoubtedly hoping to cash in on the massive success of “Squid Game,” which became Netflix’s most-watched program up to that point over 142 million viewers.