A Love is Blind season five cast member read an article People published, talked about her experience, and then the producers of Netflix’s Love is Blind demanded she pay them $4 million, just discussing her own life.
That amount of money is absurd, though this has happened before: a Bachelorette villain was ordered to pay the show’s producers $120,000 for talking about the show in interviews.
There are now several lawsuits piling up against Love is Blind’s producers, and it was one of those that actually led to this new lawsuit.
Tran Dang, who was completely edited out of season five, sued the show back in 2022. News of that lawsuit broke via a very bizarre People magazine article that was framed not around her claims of assault and false imprisonment, but focused on Love is Blind creator Chris Coelen’s defense of his franchise.
Coelen denied that she reported assault to producers, and also pretended as if people just wander into the pods, telling People, “The participants are not under our control. They are living their lives.”
Sure, Jan. And that’s why Love is Blind cast members’ passports, driver’s licenses, and phones are taken away from them. I don’t understand when shows insist they’re somehow neutral, passive observers, when they’ve set up an artificial context, cast people to fill it, tell them where to go and what to do, and then edit it all into stories that may or may not resemble what actually happened.
Coelen’s production companies, Kinetic Content and Delirium TV, said something similar in a statement: “We document the independent choices of adults who volunteer to participate in a social experiment.”
However, when an adult made the independent choice to discuss their life, guess who wanted to control them?
Love is Blind season five is unusual in that it only followed three couples outside the pods, and that’s because it edited out several participants’ experiences.
In an Instagram video earlier this month, Renee Poche, a 32-year-old veterinarian who was on Love is Blind season five, said that she was inspired to share her own experience because of the awful response
After I saw the response given to the lawsuit that Tran filed against Kinetic and Love is Blind, I was livid. It made me so angry to see him [Chris Coelen] basically say what she was saying wasn’t true, and that every participant was always safe—and that if there ever was a moment that they weren’t safe, that production be stopped.
I physically was not safe. I didn’t feel safe, and I addressed that with nothing being done about it. So on a podcast, I explain what happened to me and the way I felt about it, and because of that, I was served with a $4 million lawsuit.
What did she say that so triggered the production company? In early October 2023, Renee told PopSugar this:
We did get engaged in the pods, and we were chosen to be followed for the rest of the journey. We did go all the way to altar, but we did not get married. We fell in love with each other in the pods. We were very excited about everything, and things went really well in Mexico as well. We were always very pleasant, funny, happy, and enjoyed each other’s company. But once we got back to Houston and back to the real world, I started noticing things that I kind of ignored or blew off that were red flags I should have picked up on. And eventually I did say “no” at the altar.
Renee also said that, when she learned she’d be cut from the season, “What I was told was, ‘We’ll just, point blank, say that Carter was awful and we don’t want you to have to relive that. That’s just not going to be a big focus'” They also said timing was an issue, so they decided to cut our story. That’s what I was told.”
Later in October, Renee told the podcast Out of the Pods about her experience with Carter, saying, “He would get angry, and we’d stop filming.” Renee also said producers “don’t want me to tell my story.”
Love is Blind’s contract does say participants cannot make “derogatory comments or statements” about producers or Netflix, with a penalty of $1 million for breaching the contract’s publicity or confidentiality clauses.
Weird. What could they have to hide?
Whatever it is, they’re trying to protect it. As Variety’s Tatiana Siegel wrote in an absolutely incredible sentence: “Behind the scenes, the company is seeking $4 million from a woman who earned a total of $8,000 from her appearances on the reality series.”
Renee, however, fought back. She contacted the Unscripted Cast Advocacy Network, and was connected with lawyers.
She’s now suing production company Delirium TV—which is effectively the same as Kinetic Content—with the help of attorneys Bryan Freedman and Mark Geragos, demanding her contact be nullified and “claiming intentional infliction of emotional distress along with violations of various California labor and civic codes,” Variety notes.
Freedman told Variety that the “contract protects Delirium and Netflix from liability for future intentional misconduct and includes ruinous penalties in the millions of dollars for participants who dare to speak out about the unsafe working conditions on set. It is, in sum, a license to wreak emotional and financial havoc all while profiting for an eternity. For years, the studios, production companies, and networks have wielded these contracts as both a sword and a shield, in a conspiracy to ensure silence from those who know the truth.”