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The Biggest Loser is being investigated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office following claims that the contestants were given illegal narcotics.
In a Tuesday statement, Lieutenant James Royal says the Sheriff’s Office was tipped off by a journalist and it is investigating the “unsubstantiated allegations” that illegal narcotics were given to contestants.
“The show was filmed in an unincorporated area of Los Angeles County within the Malibu/Lost Hills station area,” reads the Sheriff’s Office statement. “Based on the information contained in the news report, Malibu/Lost Hills Station personnel are conducting an inquiry regarding the unsubstantiated allegations.”
This comes on the heels of a public clash among people who have appeared on the weight-loss reality series. A recent scientific study suggested that participating in The Biggest Loser may have permanently lowered contestants’ metabolisms, making long-term weight management more difficult. Following the release of the study, 2008 contestant Joelle Gwynn told the New York Post a trainer offered her drugs to help her shed pounds.
The show is also facing a potential lawsuit from season two contestant Suzanne Mendonca, who told TMZ last week the show ruined her life. She also claims contestants were given drugs, according to The Post.
NBC deferred comment to producers, who sent The Hollywood Reporter this statement: “We believe these allegations are without merit and false. The safety and well-being of our contestants is, and has always been, paramount. Contestants are told at the start of the show that there is zero tolerance for any weight loss drugs. We prohibit the use of any illegal substances, in addition to the many other rules and procedures of the show that are designed to ensure safety.”
May 31, 3:35 p.m. Updated with a statement from producers of The Biggest Loser.