Squid Game: The Challenge players want compensation for injuries allegedly suffered on show
LONDON – Two contestants from Netflix’s Squid Game: The Challenge (2023) are seeking compensation for injuries they allegedly suffered on the reality competition series, which premiered on Nov 22, their lawyers said.
Express Solicitors, a British personal injury law firm, is representing two unnamed players who claimed they suffered hypothermia and nerve damage while shooting in cold conditions in Britain in January.
Produced by British production companies Studio Lambert and The Garden, Squid Game: The Challenge features 456 international contestants playing games in the hope of being the last person standing to win the cash prize of US$4.56 million (S$6.14 million). The show is based on the award-winning Netflix K-drama Squid Game (2021).
According to American entertainment outlet Deadline, the contestants’ allegations concern their experience shooting the show’s opening game Red Light, Green Light, where players must evade the attention of a menacing robotic doll.
Mr Daniel Slade, chief executive officer of Express Solicitors, claimed his clients “had to stay motionless for hours in cold temperatures while filming”.
He said in a press statement: “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.”
He added: “We have a case where someone complains of hypothermia. One had his hands turn purple from the cold.”
The law firm has sent letters of claim to Studio Lambert outlining their clients’ alleged injuries it says were “a result of poor health and safety standards on set”.
A letter of claim is a step before legal action by putting a person or organisation on notice that court proceedings may be brought against them.
A spokesperson for Squid Game: The Challenge told Deadline “no lawsuit has been filed by any of the Squid Game contestants” and that they take the “welfare of our contestants extremely seriously”.
Criticisms about the filming started earlier in January and February when players were anonymously quoted in British tabloid The Sun and American publications Rolling Stone and Variety, complaining about the “inhumane” conditions and treatment of players, resulting in some players receiving medical attention, a claim that Netflix has confirmed.
A contestant, Bryton Constantin, 23, told The New York Times that he recalled people complaining about the cold, but did not remember any contestants experiencing severe injuries because of it.
“We did not sign up for a beach trip in Hawaii,” he said. “We signed up for Squid Game to win US$4.56 million.”
Singaporean contestant Danny Yeo told The Straits Times in an interview published on Nov 24 that filming conditions were “definitely unfavourable, especially for the elderly”. The 74-year-old retiree was one of the oldest players in the game.
“The Red Light, Green Light game was supposed to last only a few hours after lunch, but it dragged on until around 10pm.
“At first, we were asked to hold our poses for only five or 10 minutes, which is already challenging enough because it was around 0 deg C. But as the game went on, we were asked to hold our poses for 20 or 30 minutes, which is obviously a big disadvantage for the elderly,” he said, adding that he was eliminated around the fourth red light and never crossed the finish line.