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At one point in the not so distant past, NBC’s hit reality competition The Biggest Loser was viewed largely as an empowering series that really helped the annual batch of contestants lose weight and gain control of their health. But despite the inevitable emotional moments that warm hearts, the show has been a target for all manner of negative press in the past couple of years, and now it’s gone from former contestants slamming the producers for inhumane treatment to something far more official. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is currently investigating the show for on-set drug use.
Rumors have swirled around any illicit substances that The Biggest Loser contestants might be taking in during the production, but it’s all been hearsay. Recently, The Biggest Loser: Couples 2 (Season 7) hopeful Joelle Gwynn came out with some rather explosive allegations that she was given weight-loss drugs by an assistant of current host Bob Harper, and that her attempts to blow the whistle on it resulted in the show’s doctor reportedly explaining why they would help and that taking them was voluntary. Apparently Gwynn’s claim, and others, has raised enough eyebrows for the actual police to get involved.
The Malibu/Lost Hills Station is currently conducting the investigation dealing with the unsubstantiated claims that illegal and prescription drugs were handed out on The Biggest Loser’s set, according to Deadline. At this point, it’s too early for answers to come out, and I imagine it’ll be a hard thing to prove without it happening on camera or right in front of an officer, but time will tell.
As you can imagine, no one involved with The Biggest Loser is giving any drug-administering rumors any credence. Bob Harper and other crew members recently denied Gwynn’s claims were true, and production company EndemolShine North American released a statement today that says the show follows a zero-tolerance policy and that illegal substances are strictly prohibited. Exactly what they’re expected to say.
Last year, a former contestant came out and explained some of the horrific things they were made to go through, including being spied on and insulted when people were unable to get through the insanely rigorous exercise sessions. And it was only a few weeks ago when a pretty convincing study came out and “proved” why people gain back weight that they’d lost on Biggest Loser, with an explanation centered on the body’s metabolism being unable to adjust accordingly to the rapid weight loss needed to stay on the show. Now that Gwynn and others have come out and said they were given pills to help them drop the last few pounds, it’ll be interesting to see if the show can move onto next season on NBC unscathed.