SQUID GAME: THE CHALLENGE Contestants Talk ‘Stressful’ Conditions

Photo from Squid Game’s Instagram

SQUID GAME: THE CHALLENGE Contestants Talk ‘Stressful’ Conditions

By Movieguide® Contributor

SQUID GAME: THE CHALLENGE contestants are speaking out about the reality show’s “stressful” environment. 

The Netflix competition show, based on the streaming service’s popular SQUID GAME series, saw 456 contestants fight for a $4.65 million prize. SQUID GAME: THE CHALLENGE came under fire soon after production began.

According to Variety, one contestant claimed, “The conditions were absolutely inhumane and had nothing to do with the game.”

Others claimed the games the players competed in were “rigged.”

Netflix denied the allegations, releasing a statement that read, “We care deeply about the health of our cast and crew, and the quality of this show. Any suggestion that the competition is rigged or claims of serious harm to players are simply untrue. We’ve taken all the appropriate safety precautions, including after care for contestants — and an independent adjudicator is overseeing each game to ensure it’s fair to everyone.”

Movieguide® reported on the allegations:

Netflix’s hit Korean SQUID GAMES series left many viewers concerned due to its excessive violence, sex and language. Now, the streaming platform has announced a real-life competition based on the show.

“While THE CHALLENGE is the non-fatal version of the SQUID GAME story format, the production nonetheless generated controversy with contestants alleging to The Sun tabloid that they were ‘treated like animals’ and ‘tortured’ — particularly during the Red Light-Green Light challenge where they said they had to stand motionless for hours in freezing weather,” the Hollywood Reporter wrote.

“This is a savage game,” one player admitted.

“It was like a war zone,” one contestant admitted. “Some people couldn’t move their feet because it was so cold…Some were crawling by the end. At least one was carried out on a stretcher.”

SQUID GAME: THE CHALLENGE premiered on the streaming service on Nov. 22, giving viewers the chance to see what contestants had been talking about. 

Players are also speaking out about specific events of the reality show. 

Contestant Spencer Hawkins called a team game “very stressful,” adding, “I came prepared for the challenge, to be able to face any difficulty that was thrown at me. I was not prepared to be able to face difficulties that were responsible for other people as well. And so that added like a whole new level.”

Another player, Bryton Constantin, said the living conditions were another obstacle. 

“We’re right on top of one another,” he said of the dorms they stayed in. “People are snoring; some people can’t sleep.”

Constantin also said the food was an issue: “You got fed three times a day, but you knew you weren’t going to be getting fed five-star meals. The best meal that we had was (what viewers) saw: the little tin can that we were eating. It was yellow rice, meatballs, with no seasoning or anything on it, and then some onions and peppers.”

While some players have complained that the show was unfair, Constantin maintains it was as balanced as possible. 

“You knew what you were signing up for before you even got there,” he said. “Yeah, some things take skill, but it also comes down to luck. So everything is fair. There’s nothing that was unfair in there.” 

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