Love Is Blind creator Chris Coelen is shutting down negligence, assault and false imprisonment claims made by former season 5 contestant Tran Dang.
“If anybody ever came to us and said they felt unsafe in any way, we would immediately remove them from the experiment and talk to them, and try to get to the bottom of it,” Coelen said in a statement to People on Thursday, October 5. “Unfortunately, in this case, that kind of sentiment was never addressed to us in any way, nor was any alleged wrongdoing brought to our attention ever.”
Dang was a cast member on season 5 of LIB — which premiered on Netflix last month — though she was not featured in the show’s latest episodes. Earlier this year, she filed a lawsuit against the series’ production company, Kinetic Content, claiming she was falsely imprisoned on set and was not allowed to do much without permission from producers.
During her time in the pods — in which she alleged she was not allowed to use her cell phone or have her wallet or passport — Dang alleged that production provided contestants with little food and lots of alcohol to spark interesting conversations.
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“While on set, for up to 18 hours per day, [Kinetic Content and Delirium TV] required Ms. Dang to request permission to do virtually anything, including use the restroom,” the lawsuit reads. “She was prohibited from leaving her hotel room without express permission and kept under 24-hour surveillance.”
Coelen, for his part, called the claims “absolutely false,” adding, “We don’t push alcohol. Everyone has consistent and regular access to food and water.” When it comes to why contestants must often ask producers for permission to do certain things, Coelen attributed it to the complicated layout of the show’s set.
“In the pods, they’re on a 68,000-square-foot sound stage, where it’s dark, there’s a lot of people, there’s a lot of equipment, and even for me, it’s very confusing to get around from place to place,” he said, adding the monitoring was done to protect “the integrity of the experiment.”
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He continued: “So if they need to go to the bathroom, they tell us and we have someone escort them to the bathroom. That is how it works in the pods. When they are out of the pods, they can go to the bathroom whenever they want.”
In her lawsuit, Dang also claimed that Kinetic Content did nothing in response to her claim that she was sexually assaulted by fellow contestant Thomas Smith — to whom she got engaged in the pods — while filming in Mexico. Smith’s attorney, Kip Patterson, did not comment on the accusations.
Chris Coelen.Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Netflix
“Because of [Kinetic Content and Delirium TV’s] 24-hour surveillance of cast members, most, if not all, of these traumatic acts were likely captured on film,” Dang’s complaint states. Upon reporting the incident to producers, she was allegedly gaslighted and told she “was at fault for what had happened with Thomas Smith by not communicating effectively or somehow not taking the ‘relationship’ seriously.”
Coelen, however, claimed Dang did not bring up any assault claims to producers, and that they would have removed her from the filming if she did. “We have round-the-clock psychologists, a highly trained production team, we have a whole battalion of people who’s [sic] job it is to make sure that we prioritize our participant’s well-being,” he stated. “But the participant has to be actively involved in that process.”
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Kinetic Content, LLC and Delirium TV, LLC also addressed the lawsuit in a statement to People on Thursday, writing, “We support and stand with victims of sexual assault, but Ms. Dang’s claims against the producers are meritless. We document the independent choices of adults who volunteer to participate in a social experiment. Their journey is not scripted, nor is it filmed around the clock. We have no knowledge or control over what occurs in private living spaces when not filming, and participants may choose to end their journey at any time,” their statement reads.”
Us Weekly has reached out to reps and lawyers for Coelen, Dang, Smith, Kinetic Content, LLC and Delirium TV, LLC for comment.
New episodes of Love Is Blind season 5 premiere on Netflix on Fridays.