Netflix Reality Star Says Show "Ruined His Life": "I'm Going to Be Homeless"
Nick Thompson has struggled to find a job after being a contestant on Love Is Blind.
Nick Thompson ended up getting married on the Netflix reality dating show Love Is Blind, but now, he claims that the show "ruined his life completely." In a new interview with the Daily Mail, Thompson, who appeared on Season 2 of the hit series, claimed that he was underpaid and "treated like a prisoner" during filming. He also blamed the show for his current job struggles, which have him worrying that he will soon lose his home.
This is not the first time Thompson has spoken out negatively about Love Is Blind, and he even founded an organization in an attempt to support his fellow reality stars. Read on to see what he had to say about the detrimental effect the show has had on his life.
Thompson married another contestant—and then divorced her.
During Season 2 of Love Is Blind—which filmed in 2021 and aired in 2022—Thompson fell in love with fellow contestant Danielle Ruhl. The two got married during the finale, which meant that they were two of the contestants who stayed the entire season. The couple then filed for divorce in August 2022, as reported by People.
He says he was paid less than minimum wage.
Thompson told the Daily Mail that he was paid $10,000 for 10 weeks of filming—$7,000 for the main season and $3,000 for the After the Altar episodes. He calculates that this works out to just $7.14 an hour, given how many hours per day he was wearing a microphone. He also noted that there's no residual pay for participants, despite the season still being available for streaming.
"You are filming 18 to 20 hours a day," he claimed. "And that doesn't that necessarily mean that you're always going to be on TV, but you're miked up from the moment you get there in the morning, and you're miked up all the way until you leave."
He continued, "Then when you go home at the end of the day, you're locked in your hotel room without a key without your wallet without money without identification. You literally are held captive like a prisoner and there is absolutely no reason that you shouldn't be considered an employee when you're technically under the control of your employer for 24 hours a day."
He also claimed that he was "manipulated" by produers.
Thompson claimed that producers used certain tactics to change the way he and other contestants behaved on camera.
"We were manipulated, our triggers were utilized against us," he told the Daily Mail. "Anything that we shared with a producer or with a psych exam was weaponized against us."
For more celebrity news delivered right to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
He fears losing his home.
Thompson told the Daily Mail that he lost his job in November 2022 and has struggled to find a new one.
"I burned through my savings that cashed out my 401(k)," he said. "I've got two months left in the bank to pay my mortgage. I can't get a job because people don't take me seriously." He added that he was "a VP in software for five years" before appearing on the show.
"I wish I could just go back to having a nice life that I had built for myself, instead of wondering whether my mortgage is gonna get paid," he continued.
He finds it unethical that contestants are left with these personal struggles when the show has continued to do so well. "When you think about the amount of money that's being made, and the way that it's the path for future seasons, and the fact that anyone can go on and watch me… and I'm going to be homeless," Thompson told the publication.
Thompson started an organization to support reality stars.
Earlier this year, Thompson announced that he started a non-profit organization called UCAN (Unscripted Cast Advocacy Network). According to its website, "The UCAN Foundation is a network of reality TV participants and mental health and legal experts dedicated to supporting cast members. Our goal is to provide cast members with resources to make informed decisions, understand the reality of productions, and seek help in a safe and supportive environment."
Thompson told the Daily Mail that he and UCAN would be willing to work with Netflix to improve working conditions and pay for reality stars. "They have a great opportunity to lead in the industry and get on the right side of the issue right now," he said. "If they come to me, or our foundation or to the coalition of people that we're building, and they say, 'let's talk', that door is always open to them."
Another Love Is Blind contestant sued the show.
The co-executive director of UCAN, Jeremy Hartwell, was also a participant in Season 2 of Love Is Blind, and he has taken legal action against the companies behind the show. In July 2022, Hartwell filed a lawsuit against Netflix, Love Is Blind production company Kinetic Content, and casting company Delirium TV alleging "inhumane working conditions," including a lack of food, water, and sleep.
Kinetic Content told Best Life in a statement, "Mr. Hartwell's involvement in Season 2 of Love is Blind lasted less than one week. Unfortunately, for Mr. Hartwell, his journey ended early after he failed to develop a significant connection with any other participant. While we will not speculate as to his motives for filing the lawsuit, there is absolutely no merit to Mr. Hartwell's allegations, and we will vigorously defend against his claims."
Additionally, in an interview with Insider (via E! News), Thompson's ex Ruhl claimed that she fainted while filming the show because she didn't have enough water, food, or sleep. She also alleged that she didn't receive adequate mental health support when she said she was experiencing "suicidal thoughts."
In response, Kinetic Content told E!, "The wellbeing of our participants is of paramount importance to Kinetic. We have rigorous protocols in place to care for each person before, during, and after filming."
Best Life has reached out to Netflix and Kinetic Content regarding Thompson's most recent comments.
If you are or a loved one is struggling with suicide or depression, you can call the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 or visit 988lifeline.org.