Squid Game reality show accused of being rigged
Shockingly, the extremely ill-advised Netflix reality game show based on the Netflix scripted series about a game show where the powerful exploit the poor through a series of extremely dangerous challenges is, wait for it, exploitative, dangerous, and now allegedly scripted as well. Whoever could have guessed!
An unnamed participant in Netflix’s Squid Game: The Challenge (based on 2021 hit K-drama Squid Game) recently spoke to Vice about the horrific conditions they endured while filming. They echoed previous reporting by British tabloid The Sun, which described the below-freezing temperatures producers on the show—which cast 456 players to compete in extreme (but hypothetically not lethal) versions of children’s games for a chance to win a $4.56 million prize pot—forced them to endure during the “Red Light Green Light” challenge. They also alleged that the entire show was scripted.
“I started to realize, this was never a game I could win,” the participant, who took a leave of absence from work to film the show, said. “I’m not a contestant, I’m an extra.”
The participant claims that in advance of the first challenge, only some of the cast were fitted with functional microphone packs, while others received prop packs that wouldn’t turn on. They applied for the show themselves after receiving a targeted ad on Instagram, while other cast members included a TikTok star, a set of twins, a father-child pair, and others who had been directly contacted by production.
Perhaps most damning, contestants (illegally) compared notes and realized that production had booked some of their flights earlier than others, as though the boot order had been decided well in advance of the actual challenges. “I’m like, ‘Well, maybe it’s just cheaper for them to do that and do a change fee,’” the participant recalls saying, while others were less convinced.
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During the challenge (which led to injuries Netflix insists were minor), the participant reports that players were eliminated for moving even when raising their hand to call a medic for other players who had collapsed due to the cold. “I’m still ignorantly thinking it’s a game,” they said. “I’m like, ‘Oh my God, should I be a good person and yell ‘medic’ and risk getting eliminated?’”
Further still, producers seemed to enforce the rules only for certain contestants. “People were getting out and walking past me and saying, ‘This shit’s fucking rigged. I didn’t move.’ And then I watch people move not get eliminated,” the participant said. Eventually, they and someone near them both “got popped,” even though they insist they both stood still.
Studio Lambert (the studio behind the show) has yet to comment on these allegations.
After all this, the participant is mostly up in arms about the exploitation of their fellow contestants, which serves as a grim mirror to the message of the original show.
“People broke their lease to be on this show,” they said. “People quit their jobs. That’s the part to me that was sad. They made it seem like we all truly had a fair shot to actually win this money. It was already scripted. They already knew the people they wanted in the next round. That’s the part to me that was fucked up.”