A “Love Is Blind” participant is suing the production companies behind the Netflix reality dating program over alleged sexual assault, false imprisonment and negligence.
According to People, Tran Dang — who filmed for the show’s currently airing fifth season but has not been featured in the episodes that have come out — filed a lawsuit against Kinetic Content and Delirium TV, alleging she was sexually assaulted on set by her then-fiancé, fellow participant Thomas Smith, and that producers did nothing to stop it.
In her complaint, Dang said she got engaged to Smith during filming; however, neither was named when Netflix announced the Season 5 cast in September.
Following their designated time in the “pods” — where participants date and some get engaged, sight unseen — Dang claimed she and Smith flew to Mexico with the other betrothed couples for their subsequent vacation.
Dang alleged that Smith sexually assaulted her while there in May 2022.
“Smith, and without Ms. Dang’s consent, forcefully groped her, exposed himself in the nude and repeatedly made sexual contact over her express objections,” her suit read, noting that “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 said she reported the alleged incident to an assistant producer whom she claimed “gaslighted her” by “implying that she was at fault for what had happened with Thomas Smith by not communicating effectively or somehow not taking the ‘relationship’ seriously.”
In response, the show’s creator, Chris Coelen, claimed to People that production was “never told that [Dang] felt unsafe or experienced any of the allegations that she made.”
“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,” he said.
“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.”
Kinetic Content and Delirium TV echoed those sentiments in a joint statement, claiming that “throughout the time that Ms. Dang was involved in the production of ‘Love Is Blind,’ she never informed the producers of any alleged wrongdoing of any kind, nor did she choose to end her participation in the experiment.
“Instead, Ms. Dang continued in the experiment for weeks after the time her lawyers now claim an incident occurred. We deny and will vigorously defend the allegations against us.”
Dang’s complaint went on to allege that she and her castmates were “intentionally sequestered for two weeks” in the pods without access to their cellphones, passports or wallets.
“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. She was prohibited from leaving her hotel room without express permission and kept under 24-hour surveillance,” her suit read.
Coelen called the allegations “100 percent false and defamatory,” claiming that participants are only required to notify producers about using the restroom while they are in the pods to avoid potentially disrupting the experiment due to the confusing layout of the set.
After “LIB” participants return from Mexico, they live together as couples in Houston for several weeks before their respective wedding days, where they may choose to get married or walk away from their relationships.
While in Houston, Dang alleged that she was unable to go anywhere freely and that “her movements were continuously monitored by a ‘wrangler.’”
She said she tried to quit the show during that time but claimed she was told she needed to film a “final scene” with lines allegedly fed to her by production, which is when she “consulted with an attorney.”
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Coelen insisted that Dang’s false imprisonment allegations are “preposterous and ridiculous.”
“You come and go as you choose. You are not required to stay. If you stay, that is your decision,” he told People. “The participants are not under our control. They are living their lives. We come in, we film them for a period of time, we leave. They can leave — as many, many, many people have before — anytime they want.”
He continued, “And we are not filming around the clock. We are not mounting cameras in their personal living spaces. We don’t do that. We’re like a documentary. They are alone during periods of times, they are not under surveillance. We do not tell people what to say [or] what to do. We consistently tell people that this is their journey, this is their life to lead as they choose. We’re there to follow it.”
Per TMZ, Dang is seeking more than $1 million in damages for extreme emotional distress, pain, mental anguish and suffering.
Reps for Netflix did not immediately respond to Page Six’s requests for comment.