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A Complete Timeline of Lawsuits and Allegations Brought Against ‘Love Is Blind’

 A view of two pods from above, in 'love is blind' season 6.
A view of two pods from above, in 'love is blind' season 6.

Netflix’s landmark reality franchise Love Is Blind has been a controversial yet unavoidable part of pop culture since it first premiered in January 2020. Four years in, the original U.S.-based series has developed a growing list of misconduct accusations and lawsuits from former contestants. The numerous complaints, mostly from cast members on the second and fifth seasons, have raised concerns about the alleged exploitation of cast members, and whether the series, either in concept or via its production practice, places its participants in possible places of harm. Below, we summarize the history of allegations brought against the series in various lawsuits and reports, in chronological order of when the events became public knowledge.

Jeremy Hartwell’s lawsuit and the Insider report

In July 2022, Variety and CNN reported that season 2 participant Jeremy Hartwell had filed a lawsuit against Netflix, production company Kinetic Content, and casting company Delirium TV, accusing the three companies of various labor-law violations, including fostering “inhumane working conditions” and paying cast members less than minimum wage. Hartwell claimed that while filming the pods portion of the series in Santa Clarita, Calif., producers "plied the cast with alcohol and deprived them of food and water—while paying rates that were below Los Angeles County’s minimum wage." Hartwell’s lawyer at the time, Chantal Payton of Payton Employment Law, said in a statement to Variety that the conditions made cast members “hungry for social connections and altered their emotions and decision-making.”

More mistreatment allegations were brought to light in an April 2023 Insider report, where several cast members, including season 2 stars Danielle Ruhl and Nick Thompson as well as Hartwell, spoke out about their experience on the show. The participants interviewed alleged that they were left physically and emotionally exhausted after filming days, with one participant describing filming as “emotional warfare.” Cast members also claimed that they were not provided adequate mental health support during or after filming, including one incident where Ruhl said she told producers she was having "suicidal thoughts" while filming in Mexico and wanted to leave the show. Insider also confirmed that in early LIB seasons’ contracts, cast members faced a $50,000 penalty for leaving the show “without producer approval.” The contracts also reportedly included clauses requiring engaged couples to show up to their weddings even if they did not want to get married, as well as banning married couples from getting divorced before their final episode aired.

a woman (danielle ruhl) sits on a bed with her legs crossed, while a man (nick thompson) sits next to her and kisses the side of her head, in 'love is blind' season 6
a woman (danielle ruhl) sits on a bed with her legs crossed, while a man (nick thompson) sits next to her and kisses the side of her head, in 'love is blind' season 6

Kinetic Connect has denied allegations from both the 2022 lawsuit and the Insider report, with CEO Chris Coelen responding to many of Ruhl’s claims in a September 2023 interview with Variety. As for the show overall, the CEO said that Kinetic provided access to psychological care throughout filming, explaining that two psychologists were present in the control room during filming in the pods, and that post pods, cast members are given a hotline for a specialist who is available 24/7. Coelen also responded to the report’s claim of the $50,000 penalty saying that production never enforced the clause, and that the penalty was removed from contracts in recent seasons.

Tran Dang’s lawsuit

In October 2023, People reported that season 5 cast member Tran Dang (who filmed for the season but was not included in the final episodes) had sued Kinetic Connect and Delirium TV over claims of sexual assault, false imprisonment, and negligence. According to the full lawsuit obtained by Deadline, Dang, who got engaged to Thomas Smith on camera, said Smith allegedly assaulted her while they were filming in Mexico in May 2022. Per the complaint, Smith, who is also listed as a defendant, “forcefully groped [Dang], exposed himself in the nude, and repeatedly made sexual contact over her express objections.” The suit also alleges that "because of [Kinetic Content and Delirium TV's] 24-hour surveillance of cast members, most, if not all, of these traumatic acts were likely captured on film.” Dang also claims that “producers made attempts to mask [the] sexual assault by characterizing it as a lack of attraction on part of [Dang].” Per the suit, Dang decided to quit the show after multiple alleged attempts to notify producers about repeated alleged assaults, but she claims she was told she had to film a "final scene" with Smith, in which she was "fed lines by producers."

Kinetic and Delirium gave a joint statement to People, where the companies said that they “cannot address undisclosed concerns,” and claimed that Dang “never informed the producers of any alleged wrongdoing of any kind.” Coelen also spoke to the outlet, alleging that Dang "never told [producers] that she felt unsafe or experienced any of the allegations that she made" in the suit. He also called Dang’s false imprisonment claims “preposterous,” claiming that participants are always free to walk away from the show. “We do not tell people what to say, what to do, we consistently tell people that this is their journey, this is their life to lead as they choose. We're there to follow it,” he said.

In a statement to People, Smith's attorney Kip Patterson tells told the outlet that they do not comment on ongoing litigation.

Renee Poche’s lawsuit

In January 2024, Variety and USA Today reported that season 5 cast member Renee Poche had filed a lawsuit against Netflix and production company Delirium TV, seeking to nullify her contract and claiming “intentional infliction of emotional distress along with violations of various California labor and civic codes.” During her season, Poche became engaged to Carter Wall, who, per Variety, “landed a spot on the series despite being allegedly broke, jobless, unhoused, violent and addicted to amphetamines and alcohol.” Poche claims she was placed in a “dangerous situation" by being "forced to spend long stretches of time alone" with Wall as his "erratic and alarming behavior and emotional instability became glaringly obvious to Poche and the production staff." Per the suit, some of the alleged erratic behavior included Wall "regularly berat[ing]" her, soliciting painkillers and amphetamines, and physically threatening a camera operator while they filmed at a resort in Mexico.

three women (Renee Poche, Taylor Rue, Aaliyah Cosby) stand at a kitchen island speaking to another woman, who is partly offscreen, in episode 503 of Love is Blind
three women (Renee Poche, Taylor Rue, Aaliyah Cosby) stand at a kitchen island speaking to another woman, who is partly offscreen, in episode 503 of Love is Blind

She eventually ended the relationship, but despite Poche claiming in an October 2023 interview that the pair made it all the way to the altar, her and Wall’s relationship was not included in the aired episodes. Poche also told Variety that after she decided to go public with her “traumatic” experience on the series, Delirium "initiated private arbitration against her for purportedly violating her non-disclosure agreement." The production company is reportedly “seeking $4 million from a woman who earned a total of $8,000 from her appearances on the reality series.”

Netflix declined to respond to Marie Claire's request to comment about the above lawsuits, while Delirium TV did not respond to requests to comment. Wall, who is not listed as a defendant in Poche's suit, has not spoken publicly about his time on Love Is Blind as of the time of publishing.

Per Variety, Poche is the first former cast member to challenge the legality of the binding provisions that are ubiquitous in the reality industry. Poche is represented by power lawyers Bryan Freedman and Mark Geragos, who also represents former Real Housewife Bethenny Frankel in her fight to help protect reality stars from alleged exploitation.