Netflix’s bet on whether TikTokers can become reality TV stars already looks rocky after two of the “Hype House” star influencers publicly criticized the show’s producers.
Larri Merritt (who goes through Larray Online and has over 25 million followers on TikTok) told fans on Friday, the show’s premiere day, that the producers made up a fake tale that he witnessed a celebrates after testing positive for Covid-19. Merritt addressed the streaming show on the Twitch live video platform, saying looking at him made him want to cry.
“I’m not claiming any energy from the ‘Hype House’ show,” Merritt said. “I haven’t been to any party with Covid. “
The show details the drama of the online and personal lives of its actors as it follows the remaining members of the once-animated TikTok creator collective Hype House, a group of nine influencers living in a $ 5 million The Los Angeles mansion was all about content creation and building their careers in social media. These houses have become a mainstay of the online designer community, which has grown rapidly in recent years and often thrives on disputes or rivalries between creators.
Another star, Chase Hudson, said on a live broadcast on Saturday that despite receiving producer credit on the show, he had no idea he would be described as a “bad guy.”
Netflix is certainly not the first to be accused of manipulating reality for a reality TV show. Many popular reality TV shows are known to create sound clips and create “bad guys” by editing the audio in a practice known as “to bite. ”
But that’s uncharted territory for influencers who have long held the power to edit their own videos.
The Netflix series, produced by Spoke Studios and Wheelhouse Entertainment, follows some of TikTok’s biggest stars in their late teens and early 20s. While the Hype House first gained ground early 2020, its most famous members, like Charli D’Amelio and Addison Rae Easterling, had already left the group by the time the series began filming in early 2021.
Moreover, while Netflix initially announced that Sienna Mae Gomez would be part of the cast, the TikTok star was absent from the final cut of the series. In May 2021, after promotional photos with Gomez had already been released, a third accused her for sexually assaulting another Hype House member, Jack Wright. Gomez denied the allegations and Wright said in an Instagram post, “Sexual assault is serious business with real consequences,” adding that he encouraged “Sienna to get the support and help she needs. “.
On his Twitch stream, Merritt said he believed the decision to omit Gomez led the producers to craft a new narrative around Merritt and other members of Hype House who tested positive for Covid-19 during filming, well. that they had previously claimed that they would not use his diagnosis on the show. NBC News has not verified Merritt’s claim.
Merritt said some scenes depicting other cast members learning and discussing his diagnosis were staged or manipulated by the production.
At the start of the third episode, a title card reads: “After Larray tested positive for COVID, production was shut down for two weeks. The Hype House scenes subsequently shown include members of the cast complaining about quarantine and calling Merritt a “liar.”
“It’s so weird to see people claiming to be your friend talking about you on a show without even asking you about the situation,” Merritt said on his Twitch stream. He later asked fans not to send hate to anyone on the show and said they had been misled by the producers.
Merritt went on to say during the stream that several conversations were edited out of context after Gomez was cut from the show, leading to footage that didn’t make sense.
“Why would you tell the whole world I tried to party when I had Covid? Merritt asked. “You can all record it and send it to the production team at Netflix. I want them to apologize for lying about my name.
Hudson made similar statements. In a live Instagram broadcast on Saturday, he said the show “fabricated” a story that Hype House was paying rent on a mansion he now lives in in Encino, California.
“You can call my landlord,” Hudson said on live broadcast, insisting that he pays his rent himself.
Hudson went on to say that the producers painted him “like a bad guy” and gave him producer credit, although he said he had no knowledge or oversight of the storylines of each episode. Hudson, who dated D’Amelio, compared her experience to his on Hulu’s “The D’Amelio Show,” a similar reality TV format that focused on a family.
“I spoke to them, they had total control over what was going on on the show, what they were comfortable with,” said Hudson. “None of us had that kind of access to the show.”
Merritt, in the comments to the Hudson livestream, praised him for speaking.
Spoke Studios, Netflix, Wheelhouse Entertainment, Hudson and Meritt did not respond to a request for comment.