Netflix denies any Squid Game reality show contestants have suffered ‘serious injury’

Streaming giant says three people were treated for mild conditions while filming competition based on hit South Korean drama, after contestant claims ‘it was like a war zone’

Three people received medical treatment during the filming of a Squid Game reality show, Netflix has confirmed, but said “claims of serious injury are untrue” after a contestant claimed people were stretchered out.

Squid Game: The Challenge will see 456 contestants competing for a huge cash prize, just like in the hit South Korean fictional drama. The reality show is currently being filmed in Cardington Studios, a former RAF base in Bedfordshire in the United Kingdom.

UK tabloid the Sun spoke to an unnamed contestant who claimed multiple people had required medical attention due to cold temperatures in the studio while competing in the first game, Red Light, Green Light.

“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,” the anonymous contestant told the Sun. “Too many were determined not to move so they stood there for far too long.

“There were people arriving thinking they were going to be millionaires but they left in tears.”

The game Red Light, Green Light involves running fast on a green light and staying perfectly still and silent when the light changes to red.

“It was like a war zone,” the contestant told the Sun. “People were getting carried out by medics but we couldn’t say anything. If you talk then you’re out … You could hear someone yell ‘medic’ and the crew would rush on. 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.”

After the reports emerged, Netflix said three people were treated for “mild medical conditions”.

A spokesperson told the BBC that medics were on set at all times and that it had “invested in all the appropriate safety procedures”.

“While it was very cold on set – and participants were prepared for that – any claims of serious injury are untrue,” they said.

In the original drama, 456 contestants compete in deadly versions of children’s games for a huge cash prize. It was widely seen as a critique of capitalism and South Korea’s personal debt crisis. Nine months after it launched, Netflix announced it would invite 456 people to battle for US$4.56m (A$6.4m, £3.7m) on a reality show version.

Brandon Riegg, Netflix’s vice president of unscripted and documentary series, has called the reality show a “social experiment”.

Squid Game was Netflix’s most-watched programme in 2021, and was singlehandedly credited with attracting 4.4 million new subscribers to the streaming service and boosting the company’s profits to US$1.45bn (A$2.04bn, £1.17bn).

  • This article was amended on 27 January 2023 to correct a currency conversion figure in the millions that was labelled billions, and one in the billions that was labelled millions.


Sian Cain

The GuardianTramp

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