Very troubling news this week out of the reality television universe:
Tran Dang, a contestant on Love Is Blind Season 5, has filed a lawsuit against production companies Kinetic Content and Delirium TV, alleging she was sexually assaulted by her former fiancé, Thomas Smith, during the filming of the most recent season of the Netflix series.
The stars got engaged during the season, yet have not been featured in the episodes.
Dang also alleges false imprisonment and negligence.
Not many other details regarding this allegation have been made public.
In a joint statement, however, Kinetic Content and Delirium TV denied the troubling claims made by Dang, releasing the following message:
We support and stand with victims of sexual assault, but Ms. Dang’s claims against the producers are meritless. We document the independent choices of adults who volunteer to participate in a social experiment.
Their journey is not scripted, nor is it filmed around the clock.
We have no knowledge or control over what occurs in private living spaces when not filming, and participants may choose to end their journey at any time.
We take any and all concerns of our participants seriously and prioritize their well-being. Obviously, we cannot address undisclosed concerns, and 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.
Creator and CEO of Kinetic Content Chris Coelen also denied the allegations, insisting that production was never informed the contestant felt unsafe.
“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.”
In her legal filing, Dang says she was sexually assaulted by Smith on May 3, 2022 during a trip to Mexico.
She alleges that “Smith, and without Ms. Dang’s consent, forcefully groped her, exposed himself in the nude, and repeatedly made sexual contact over her express objections.”
The lawsuit blames the aforementioned companies “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.”
When contacted by Variety, Smith’s attorney, Kip Patterson, said his client denies that allegations, adding:
“We do not comment on ongoing litigation.”
A source close to production has told Entertainment Tonight that the Dang and Smith moved into an apartment together after shooting wrapped, which was well after the alleged assault took place.
In addition to her assault allegations, Dang claims she was falsely imprisoned, which Coelen calls “preposterous and ridiculous,” explaining of how things work:
“You come and go as you choose. You are not required to stay. If you stay, that is your decision.
“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.”
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