Three people received medical treatment while filming a Squid Game reality show, Netflix has confirmed, but said “serious injury claims are not true” after one contestant claimed people were stretched out.
Squid Game: The Challenge will see 456 contestants compete for a huge cash prize, just like in the popular South Korean fiction drama. The reality show is currently being filmed at Cardington Studios, a former RAF base in Bedfordshire in the UK.
British tabloid The Sun spoke to an unnamed contestant who claimed that several people needed medical attention due to the cold temperatures in the studio while participating in the first game, Red Light, Green Light.
“Even if hypothermia did occur, people were willing to stay as long as possible because there was a lot of money at stake,” the anonymous participant told the Sun. “Too many were determined not to move, so they stood there for far too long.
“People arrived thinking they were going to be millionaires, but they left in tears.”
The Red Light, Green Light game involves running fast at a green light and staying completely still and still when the light turns red.
“It was like a war zone,” the contestant told the Sun. “People were taken away by medics, but we couldn’t say anything. If you talk, you’re out… You could hear someone shout ‘medic’ and the crew would run on. We ended up standing there for 30 minutes between takes. Some crept towards the end. At least one was carried on a stretcher.”
After the reports came out, Netflix said three people were being treated for “mild medical conditions”.
A spokesperson told the BBC that there were medics on set at all times and that it had “invested in all appropriate safety procedures”.
“Although it was very cold on set – and the contestants were prepared for it – all 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 launch, Netflix announced it would invite 456 people to compete for US$4.56 million (A$6.4 million, £3.7 billion) for a reality show version.
Brandon Riegg, vice president of Netflix series and documentary series, calls the reality show a “social experiment.”
Squid Game was Netflix’s most-watched program in 2021 and was single-handedly credited with attracting 4.4 million new subscribers to the streaming service and boosting the company’s profits to US$1.45 billion (A$2.04 million, £1.17 billion).