A new German reality television show that is hosted by Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli made headlines this week after word got out that contestants are made to sign contracts that are unfair and extremely restrictive.
"Million Dollar Model," which began filming last month, aims to discover Europe's next top fashion-strutting talent.
"The contestants are shackled," German newspaper Bild reported on Monday, listing measly wages and exorbitant fines among the harsh terms imposed on aspiring models who sign up to take part in the show.
Refaeli, front and center (Screenshot)
For one thing, the young women must clear their schedules for three months of shooting without being properly compensated; they are promised a €200 allowance per episode – up to €1,000 for those who don't get eliminated along the way.
During that period, they must cut all private communication with the outside world, which means Facebook and cell phones are out of bounds. If a contestant wishes to place a call, she must make it in front of the camera after clearing it with the production crew.
Another clause in the contract requires the contestants to fulfill any task that is thought up by the producers. The participants must allow the crew to film their every move, as is standard with reality TV, but at the same time they must stick to a script.
Contestants in southern Israel (Photo: Doron Bertie)
If a contestant violates any of the terms, she is to be fined €10,000. Furthermore, if she is caught leaking details about the show, she is to be fined the whopping sum of €50,000.
According to the report, the show lures in the contestants with the promise of a large prize "but instead of glamour, they face debt." And the final prize might not amount to the million dollars that the show's title suggests.
Last month, the contestants were flown to Israel to film the first episode of the show in Timna Park. In one of the tasks, they were suspended from a crane set on the backdrop Solomon's Pillars.