Stranger Things creators Matt and Ross Duffer are speaking out after a crew member from the show posted to social media to allege verbal abuse on the set of the Netflix series. In a statement posted by Deadline, the Duffer brothers apologized for occasionally losing their tempers while working on the high-stress production, but also reieterated that they don’t want to see their set mischaracterized. The brothers said they are “deeply upset” to hear the allegations from Peyton Brown, who announced she will not be returning to work on Season 3 of Stranger Things after claiming she witnessed verbal abuse directed at women on the set. The Duffer brothers’ statement read as follows.
“We are deeply upset to learn that someone felt uncomfortable on our set. Due to the high-stress nature of production, tempers occasionally get frayed, and for that, we apologize. However, we think it is important not to mischaracterize our set, where we believe strongly in treating everyone fairly regardless of gender, orientation, race, religion, or anything else. We remain totally committed to providing a safe and collaborative working environment for everyone on our productions.”
Netflix has also defended the Stranger Things creators. The streaming service reportedly found “no wrongdoing” by Matt and Ross Duffer after an investigation into the allegations.
In an Instagram post made on International Women’s Day, former Stranger Things crew member Peyton Brown revealed that she would not be returning to work on Season 3 of the ’80s-themed sci-fi drama. Brown claimed she “personally witnessed two men in high positions of power on that set seek out and verbally abuse multiple women.” Brown also told her 11,500 followers that “Time is up.” The former Stranger Things crew member alleged that the Duffers yelled, threatened the crew, and insulted them. Peyton also revealed that other crew members had quit the production due to the alleged mistreatment.
— IndieWire (@IndieWire) March 9, 2018
Fans may recall that the Duffer brothers were previously under fire for adding an unscripted kissing scene between two teen stars in the Stranger Things 2 finale episode, “Chapter 9: The Gate.” Last year, in a post-season interview for Beyond Stranger Things, Stranger Things 2 star Sadie Sink revealed that Matt and Ross Duffer sprung an unscripted kissing scene on her in the episode’s final scene shot at the Snow Ball.
In the scene, Sadie’s character, Max, kisses Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) while they are at the dance. But Sadie Sink revealed that the kiss was not written in the script for the episode and that she was upset it was sprung on her without warning. Stranger Things creator Ross Duffer defended the script update and joked that the kissing scene was all Sink’s fault, explaining that after she “freaked out” when he made a joke about it, he decided he had to make her do it.
No Stranger Things stars have accused Matt or Ross Duffer of any type of abuse.
Stranger Things Season 3 is expected to premiere on Netflix in 2019.