Love Is Blind alum Nick Thompson is continuing to open up about the real-life consequences that come with reality TV stardom.
Nick, who appeared on season 2 of the Netflix dating show, told the Daily Mail that he’s “having an incredibly hard time” finding work after losing his job last year. He called out Netflix for “exploiting” him and his costars, claiming he was only paid $10,000 for 10 weeks of filming.
“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,” he alleged in the interview published on Tuesday, August 1. “I lost my job last November. … I burned through my savings that cashed out my 401(k). 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.”
Nick asserted that his five years of previous experience as a “VP in software” should be enough of a “track record” for employers, but his time on reality TV is proving to be a roadblock in his job search.
Throughout filming for Love Is Blind, Nick claimed he was “held captive like a prisoner” with producers “in control of you 24 hours a day.” He alleged that the cast was on camera “18 to 20 hours a day” but were paid less than minimum wage. (He approximates earning $7.14 per hour, compared to the $8.50 minimum wage in Illinois, where season 2 was filmed.)
“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 said. “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.”
Due to their rigorous work schedule during production, Nick argued “there is absolutely no reason” that the cast “shouldn’t be considered” Netflix employees.
Love Is Blind’s second season aired in 2022. Nick — who got married to now-ex Danielle Ruhl on the show — has since launched the Unscripted Cast Advocacy Network, which intends to provide legal and mental health support for reality stars.
Nick has been vocal about his experience on the show — as have many other stars. Earlier this year, multiple former contestants came forward with allegations of mistreatment in a bombshell Business Insider exposé. In the report, Danielle claimed she had a panic attack while filming in Mexico and hid in a closet to avoid producers.
“I kept telling them, ‘I don’t trust myself. I’ve tried committing suicide before,’” she alleged in April. “‘I’m having suicidal thoughts. I don’t think I can continue in this.’”
The report also claimed that season 1 contestants were forced to sleep in “drab trailers crammed with bunk beds during the 10 days dating in the pods,” with all 15 men in “one single-room trailer” and all 15 women in another. Other stars recalled experiencing “sleep deprivation” during filming and alleged having minimal access to food and water.
Kinetic Content, the production company behind the successful series, responded in a statement to Variety as the accusations made headlines. “The well-being of our participants is of paramount importance to Kinetic,” the statement claimed. “We have rigorous protocols in place to care for each person before, during, and after filming.”