Love Is Blind Creator Speaks Out After Participant Sues for Sexual Assault, False Imprisonment (Exclusive)

love is blind season 4
A girl standing on the ‘Love Is Blind’ set.Photograph: courtesy netflix

Love Is Blind‘s creator Chris Coelen is talking out after a season 5 participant sued the manufacturing firm behind his present over claims of assault, false imprisonment and negligence.

Tran Dang, who filmed for season 5 however shouldn’t be featured within the episodes, is suing manufacturing firm Kinetic Content material after claiming she was sexually assaulted on set and Kinetic allegedly did nothing to cease it, based on a criticism obtained by PEOPLE. Within the swimsuit, Dang additionally claimed she was falsely imprisoned whereas filming and producers acted with negligence.

Since her preliminary submitting, Dang has additionally sued manufacturing firm Delirium TV, which Kinetic alleged that it “delegated accountability for capturing the related season of Love Is Blind,” per the docs.

“The producers are throwing cash on the drawback by spending an inordinate amount of cash on dropping authorized positions that do nothing however delay the events from having their day in Courtroom. They misplaced on three distinct authorized points earlier than the trial courtroom after which filed three separate appeals to multiply the proceedings we’ve to wade via earlier than lastly making an attempt this case,” Dang’s lawyer Benjamin W. Allen of Wallace & Allen LLP tells PEOPLE in an announcement through electronic mail. “However we’re assured that Ms. Dang’s place will likely be vindicated as soon as we get there and are dedicated to seeing it via the entire manner. We’ve got to carry the present producers accountable. We’ve got an moral obligation to our consumer to take action, but additionally really feel an ethical obligation to the following era of actuality present individuals.”

In his first assertion relating to the information, Coelen speaks out to PEOPLE, calling Dang’s claims “preposterous” and saying the lawsuit has “no advantage as a result of we had been by no means advised that she felt unsafe or skilled any of the allegations that she made.”

“If anyone ever got here to us and stated they felt unsafe in any manner, we’d instantly take away them from the experiment and speak to them, and attempt to resolve it,” he says. “Sadly, on this case, that sort of sentiment was by no means addressed to us in any manner, nor was any alleged wrongdoing dropped at our consideration ever.”

LOVE IS BLIND Nick and Vanessa Lachey
‘Love Is Blind’ pods.Netflix

Kinetic Content material, LLC and Delirium TV, LLC additionally echoed these phrases in a joint assertion to PEOPLE.

“We assist and stand with victims of sexual assault, however Ms. Dang’s claims in opposition to the producers are meritless. We doc the impartial decisions of adults who volunteer to take part in a social experiment. Their journey shouldn’t be scripted, neither is it filmed across the clock. We’ve got no information or management over what happens in non-public dwelling areas when not filming, and individuals might select to finish their journey at any time,” their assertion reads.

“We take any and all considerations of our individuals severely and prioritize their well-being. Clearly, we can’t deal with undisclosed considerations, and all through the time that Ms. Dang was concerned within the manufacturing of Love is Blind, she by no means knowledgeable the producers of any alleged wrongdoing of any type. Nor did she select to finish her participation within the experiment. As a substitute, Ms. Dang continued within the experiment for weeks after the time her legal professionals now declare an incident occurred. We deny and can vigorously defend the allegations in opposition to us,” it concludes.

In line with the criticism, Dang says she was “aggressively recruited” by Kinetic’s casting crew to look on season 5. Although she “didn’t search involvement,” she ultimately agreed to hitch the present.

Throughout filming, the swimsuit alleges the solid was “deliberately sequestered for 2 weeks” within the pods, with out use of their cell telephones, passports, wallets, or communicative units.

“Over a number of days of filming in a number of venues, together with Houston, [Kinetic Content and Delirium TV] supplied the solid members with alcohol—however restricted meals,” the lawsuit reads. “This mix was designed to encourage them to interact in placing conversations and actions that might enhance viewer rankings. Whereas on set, for as much as 18 hours per day, [Kinetic Content and Delirium TV] required Ms. Dang to request permission to do just about something, together with use the restroom. She was prohibited from leaving her resort room with out specific permission and stored beneath 24-hour surveillance.”

Love is Blind
A person on ‘Love Is Blind’ behind the reveal wall.Netflix

Addressing these allegations, Coelen says they’re “completely false.”

“These allegations are one hundred pc false and defamatory. It isn’t true in any manner … we do not push alcohol. Everybody has constant and common entry to meals and water,” he says, noting that individuals are solely required to inform them about utilizing the restroom whereas they’re within the pods because of the complicated format of set and potential to disrupt the experiment.

“Within the pods, they’re on a 68,000-square-foot sound stage, the place it is darkish, there’s lots of people, there’s plenty of tools, and even for me, it’s totally complicated to get round from place to put,” he explains. “Due to that, and since we wish to shield the integrity of the experiment, we don’t need them wandering round by themselves, and wandering over into [the other sex’s] dwelling quarters, as a result of typically persons are tempted to try this — we wish to keep away from that.”

“So if they should go to the lavatory, they inform us and we’ve somebody escort them to the lavatory,” he provides. “That’s the way it works within the pods. When they’re out of the pods, they will go to the lavatory at any time when they need.”

Throughout her time within the pods, Dang bought engaged to fellow participant Thomas Smith, based on the lawsuit. (Neither Dang nor Smith had been listed as individuals when the season 5 solid was introduced by Netflix in September, and Coelen says they stopped filming their story a number of weeks later as a result of it was now not one of many extra “genuine and real” ones.)

The 2 then flew to Mexico, the place Dang alleges she was sexually assaulted by Smith on Might 3, 2022, whereas filming was happening. In response to the allegations, Smith’s lawyer Kip Patterson tells PEOPLE that they don’t touch upon ongoing litigation.

“Smith, and with out Ms. Dang’s consent, forcefully groped her, uncovered himself within the nude, and repeatedly made sexual contact over her specific objections,” the criticism reads, noting that “due to [Kinetic Content and Delirium TV’s] 24-hour surveillance of solid members, most, if not all, of those traumatic acts had been seemingly captured on movie.”

The criticism notes that Dang is “not a really assertive particular person” and “was baffled that nobody had intervened to cease the harassment.” She allegedly reported the incident, however based on the swimsuit, had an assistant producer who “gaslighted her, implying that she was at fault for what had occurred with Thomas Smith by not speaking successfully or someway not taking the ‘relationship’ severely.”

Love is Blind
Two individuals within the pods on ‘Love Is Blind’.Netflix

Dang additionally claimed that Smith harassed her throughout a Might 14 cellphone name in Houston. This alleged incident resulted in Smith calling producers and “complaining that she had reported his habits,” per the swimsuit. Additionally in Houston, Dang alleged that she was unable to go anyplace freely and “her actions had been constantly monitored by a ‘wrangler.'”

After a number of alleged makes an attempt to inform producers about her expertise, Dang determined to stop the present, however claims she was advised she needed to movie a “remaining scene,” wherein she was fed strains by producers. “After this horrific expertise, Ms. Dang consulted with an lawyer,” the lawsuit states.

Nevertheless, Coelen insists that Dang’s claims should not true, as manufacturing doesn’t movie all day, she allegedly didn’t elevate a difficulty relating to the assault and so they do not intrude with what individuals say on the present.

“She didn’t make any sort of declare of assault of any type,” he says. “We might not proceed filming with somebody who was expressing that an incident of that kind had occurred. We’ve got round the clock psychologists, a extremely skilled manufacturing crew, we’ve an entire battalion of people that’s job it’s to make it possible for we prioritize our participant’s well-being. However the participant needs to be actively concerned in that course of.”

“Claiming that you’re falsely imprisoned on Love Is Blind is preposterous and ridiculous. You come and go as you select. You aren’t required to remain. In the event you keep, that’s your determination,” he continues. “They don’t seem to be beneath our management. They’re dwelling their lives. We are available in, we movie them for a time period, we depart. They’ll depart, as many, many, many individuals have earlier than, anytime they need.”

Coelen provides, “And we’re not filming across the clock. We aren’t mounting cameras of their private dwelling areas. We do not try this. We’re like a documentary. They’re alone during times of instances, they aren’t beneath surveillance. We don’t inform individuals what to say, what to do, we persistently inform people who that is their journey, that is their life to guide as they select. We’re there to observe it…. We do not push any narrative.”

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MAY 22: Chris Coelen attends FYSEE Reali-Tea | Netflix at Raleigh Studios Hollywood on May 22, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Netflix)
Chris Coelen, the creator of ‘Love Is Blind’.Charley Gallay/Getty

After submitting the swimsuit, Dang claimed Kinetic Content material responded with a particular look movement, claiming it’s a nonresident and that each one the filming and capturing was carried out by Delirium TV, per the swimsuit. Dang alleged this motion was “made in dangerous religion” and resulted in her searching for sanctions for, with Kinetic Content material subsequently submitting a TCPA movement to dismiss.

A Texas state choose ultimately denied the motions which prompted Kinetic Content material to enchantment, based on the swimsuit. In a quick filed in August, Kinetic Content material argued it was inside its rights to file the particular look and TCPA movement, claiming Dang has been “threatening” and “bullying” the businesses whereas they’re making an attempt to defend themselves in opposition to her claims.Kinetic Content material has since been granted an extension to answer to Dang’s reply on Tuesday.

Of the continued litigation, Coelen says, “We’ll vigorously defend ourselves. I am not ready to invest about what occurs with adults on their very own time behind closed doorways. I wish to be actually, actually clear about that. I am not saying her allegations are or should not true. I am not ready to say that. I am really supportive and empathetic of people that make these claims.”

“However what I’ll say is her allegations in opposition to us are utterly meritless. The reason being as a result of whereas I’m extremely empathetic, if I’m unaware that an allegation has been made, if nobody comes to tell me of a priority or declare, there may be actually nothing I can do about it,” he provides. “I urge individuals, whether or not it is on our present or any present, or frankly, in life, in case you are in an uncomfortable scenario, not simply on Love Is Blind, in case you are in a scenario the place you’re feeling unsafe or the place you’re feeling that one thing has occurred consistent with what’s alleged on this swimsuit, it is best to lean on the assist system, and typically I acknowledge that may be onerous to do or tough for individuals to talk up.”

“I actually really feel strongly about that. Nevertheless, I can not be accountable when somebody does not inform me or inform us that they’ve a priority,” he provides. “These two issues can mutually coexist.”

The primary seven episodes of Love Is Blind season 5 are actually streaming on Netflix. New episodes drop Friday.

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