Players who took part in a reality TV game show based on the Netflix series Squid Game are complaining about the production, with one player saying it was scripted from the beginning, duping them into thinking they had a chance at winning when in reality they were just unpaid background actors, Vice's Motherboard reports.
Some are saying the production was a disaster, with some participants experiencing apparent medical emergencies due to cold weather in England.
From Vice: "Squid Game: The Challenge was announced last year; it’s currently being filmed at a former military base in Bedfordshire, just outside London, and the winner will supposedly be awarded $4.56 million. The production is massive, with 456 players at the outset. They are competing in elaborately staged versions of familiar children’s games like those in the original production, with the distinction being that unlike those in the hit show, these aren’t supposed to be truly dangerous or lethal."
A participant on the show told Vice they were hired after seeing an ad on Instagram.
“My understanding was it was going to be similar to Squid Game,” the participant said. “We’d be put in uncomfortable situations, living with 456 people and trying to form alliances. Except there would be no tolerance for bullying or harassment or physical violence or you potentially getting killed. So the Real World, but a little more intense. That’s how I understood it.”
The participant, who took a leave of access from their job, said the production was "complete chaos and disorganization. It didn’t seem like a well-oiled machine. People around me were stressed.”
The participant said that they later started to suspect the show was scripted when comparing notes with other participants, who noticed they had outgoing flights scheduled by the production staff, as if their exits were already planned.
As The Sun has also reported, participants were given hand and foot warmers, but the foot warmers were taken away when filming began.
“It’s f***ing freezing,” the participant told Vice. “I can’t move and I’m trying to stop my body from shivering because it’s below freezing.” They had been told they would stand still during the game for about 10 minutes; to pass the time, the participant sang quietly to themselves, and soon realized it had to have been at least 25 to 30 minutes. “We would move for five seconds and stand still for another 20.”
The participant said that after about an hour and a half, “someone collapses behind me," adding that another player called for a medic but was eliminated for violating the rules of the game by moving.
“I’m still ignorantly thinking it’s a game,” the participant told Vice. “‘I’m like, oh my God, should I be a good person and yell ‘medic’ and risk getting eliminated?”
After more and more players were eliminated, they were bussed back to the hotel where they were staying, where more chaos awaited.
“People broke their lease to be on this show,” the participant 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 f***ed up.”
Read the full report over at Vice.