Starla Heinz as Contestant 318 in Squid Game: The Challenge

‘Squid Game: The Challenge’ Contestants Intend To Take Legal Action Against Netflix

Despite much protest, Netflix charged ahead with its Squid Game-inspired reality competition show Squid Game: The Challenge. Unsurprisingly, it went so wrong that the streamer may soon have a lawsuit on its hands.

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Contestants are set to sue due to unsafe working conditions on set, especially during the Red Light, Green Light game. Since Netflix announced Squid Game: The Challenge, it has sparked outcry for embracing the ideals that the original Squid Game criticized. Created by Hwang Dong-hyuk, Squid Game follows a number of individuals who are so desperate for a cash prize that they participate in a game show where the price of losing is death.

The competition of the original series is meant to be an allegory for a capitalist society that reflects the cruelty of competition and those who are exploited and oppressed by the system. Hence, for Netflix to decide to bring that competition to life, minus the death component, illustrated that it missed the point of the show entirely and was contributing to the problems Squid Game highlighted by getting a bunch of contestants to play the games of the rich by dangling cash in front of them.

Squid Game: The Challenge started looking even more like Squid Game in the worst way when news surfaced that contestants weren’t being treated very well during the competition. Reports revealed three contestants needed medical treatment after playing Red Light, Green Light in freezing conditions. Netflix claimed these reports of injuries were false. However, now the contestants are threatening legal action against the streamer.

Squid Game: The Challenge contestants are prepared to sue Netflix

Photo of contestants in Netflix's Squid Game: The Challenge. They are wearing the same green uniforms as the contestants from the drama show of the same name.

As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, several Squid Game: The Challenge contestants are taking steps to file a lawsuit against Netflix. U.K. injury firm Express Solicitors is representing several contestants from the show seeking compensation for injuries they sustained during filming. The firm released a brief statement confirming that letters of claim had been sent to Netflix on behalf of the injured contestants. CEO David Slade stated, “From what we’ve been told, they [Netflix] 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.”

These letters of claim mean that Netflix has received a request for compensation for the injured players. A lawsuit will likely follow if the streamer doesn’t heed the claim. Currently, the firm is representing two unnamed players but is in communication with other contestants. According to Express Solicitors, the players being represented “suffered injuries such as hypothermia and nerve damage” while filming.

Previous reports detailed horrible conditions while filming Red Light, Green Light. Contestants reportedly played the game outdoors in temperatures as low as 27°F. Meanwhile, filming lasted a staggering six hours in freezing conditions, resulting in some players allegedly fainting. Players also couldn’t move to seek help or aid others for fear of elimination.

While this is the only game believed to have resulted in injuries, living conditions in general were also purportedly poor. Former contestants described being locked in the dorm room crammed with over a hundred people for hours upon hours each day, with no windows or sense of time. One contestant even stated that the contestants “were starved,” saying that though they received three meals a day, contestants only got small tins of very bland and basic food for each meal.

Netflix responds to Squid Game: The Challenge complaints

Squid Game: The Challenge’s producers, John Hay and Stephen Lambert, gave statements to THR regarding the complaints the show received. Hay denies that the conditions were unsafe. Though acknowledging that “it was a cold day,” he insists that “everyone was prepared for that and looked after properly.”

Meanwhile, Lambert largely brushed off the complaints, stating that contestants should’ve known “it wasn’t going to be a walk in the park to win $4.56 million.” He also claimed that Squid Game: The Challenge “was a lot nicer and a lot easier than an awful lot of unscripted shows” and that it’s normal to “have people sometimes treated for mild complaints” on these shows.

Of course, if conditions on reality shows are usually this bad, perhaps Squid Game: The Challenge could’ve tried to break that standard instead of reinforcing it. What’s especially concerning is that Netflix generates billions in revenue annually and could have provided safe conditions while still giving away a large cash prize. While Squid Game: The Challenge contestants should’ve expected a bit of a challenge, they shouldn’t have expected Netflix to actually recreate the hellish environment of the fictional Squid Game competition. These contestants shouldn’t be blamed for Netflix bizarrely wanting to be like the real-life antagonists of Squid Game.

(via THR, featured image: Netflix)

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Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.