How A Newspaper Caused A Hell's Kitchen Scandal

Watching an episode of "Hell's Kitchen" can be like entering another world. For the contestants on the show, that's even more true than it is for the audience and the commotion over a simple newspaper is proof of that.

There are many ways in which competing on the show differs from reality. Instead of cooking in an actual restaurant, contestants are essentially just cooking on a stage, according to TV GuideThe Things lays out how contestants wear their microphones all the time — even while sleeping and using the restroom — and those microphones are always recording. The only way for the contestants to get any privacy is to start singing, according to former contestants of the show.

In order to maintain the other-worldliness of the show, the producers also work to keep the contestants sequestered from outside influences. That's where a newspaper goes from being an innocent item to a huge problem.

Newspapers are contraband for contestants

The New York Post revealed what happened when producers discovered a contestant had a newspaper on the set during a season of "Hell's Kitchen." One former contestant, Seth Levin, told the Post that when the newspaper was discovered, "it was like all hell broke loose." Levin shared that a crew member actually came over and ripped it out of another contestant's hands. Why was a newspaper such an issue? Levin explained that it violates the show's practice of isolating contestants from the outside world during the filming. "It is just you by yourself in LA in this pit of fire," Levin told the Post.

Fortunately, contestants aren't left without any assistance or wondering what's going on with their loved ones. The Things reports that the show's crew members contact contestants' family and friends to get regular updates and share those with the contestants. Another former contestant, Kevin Cottle, shared in a Reddit AMA that contestants get another kind of help from a secret backup kitchen in case the dinner service doesn't happen. The show also takes care of contestants by providing them with mental health services after they are eliminated, according to The Things. Part of the reason why those contestants might need that treatment is the drama that a simple newspaper creates.