A seemingly sweet scene recently left some fans feeling uncomfortable about one of their favorite shows. In response, 15-year-old Sadie Sink has responded to the controversial Stranger Things Season 2 kiss, which took place in the finale. In the scene, Max (played by Sink) kisses her love interest, Lucas (played by 16-year-old Caleb McLaughlin), at the Snow Ball. However, in an episode of Beyond Stranger Things, the Netflix show's creators The Duffer Brothers joked that they made Sink kiss McLaughlin because she was "so freaked out" about the idea. This is what appears to have sparked the backlash. (Bustle reached out to Netflix, who declined to comment.)
During an interview with TheWrap on Tuesday, however, Sink revealed that she "never objected" to the kiss, which was apparently the first ever for both actors. Sink said,
"I mean, of course I was nervous because it’s a first kiss, right? But I never objected to [it] or felt pushed into anything. I always felt comfortable and the Duffer Brothers, they do the best job, and always create a comfortable space. And if I felt uncomfortable with anything, I wouldn’t have done it."
It's also worth noting that the article highlights Sink saying she thought the kiss was important for the characters and the episode, and that she was "really comfortable" with McLaughlin, as they already knew each other from living in New York City. TheWrap also reportedly asked Sink about whether anyone prepped her on what to say about the kiss, which reportedly resulted in what they called an "uncomfortable silence."
As a recap, fans initially became concerned about the manner with which Sink may have been asked to perform the kiss following an exchange on Beyond Stranger Things, the aftershow series for the second season. The actor explained to the rest of the cast and The Duffer Brothers that, "the kiss was not written in the script." She then went on to describe her perspective of the events that led up to the filming of the scene. Sink explained,
"I get there, the first day of [filming the] Snow Ball…one of you, I think it was you, Ross, you say, ‘Ooh, Sadie, you ready for the kiss?’ I’m like, ‘What! No! That’s not in the script…that’s not happening.’ So the whole day I was like stressed out, I was like, ’Oh my god, wait, am I gonna have to’… And it didn’t happen that day, but then the second day of filming the Snow Ball."
In response, Ross Duffer jokingly added, "You reacted so strongly to this — I was just joking — and you were so freaked out that I was like, ‘Well, I gotta make her do it now’… that’s what happened, that’s why I’m saying it’s your fault." McLaughlin added that because the kiss was his first, he recalled "feeling weird" about it, especially as the scene required multiple takes in front of "their parents and the crew."
On Twitter, numerous fans shared their shock and discomfort regarding the conversation, to varying degrees. Some pointed out the problematic power dynamic that made Ross Duffer's comments all the more difficult to digest.
Others shared outrage regarding the way in which Sink's discomfort was dealt with.
While some pointed out that Sink's age adds an extra layer of unease to the entire situation.
This final scene of Stranger Things Season 2 where the controversy stemmed from is, admittedly, an important one for the show. It shows our childhood heroes able escape from dealing with the horrors of The Upside Down so they can finally enjoy normal adolescent events like first crushes, romantic dances, and those awkward first kisses.
Sink's acknowledgment that the kiss was important for Max and Lucas as characters, as well as for the episode itself, is significant and feels like an accurate observation. But whether that moment was conducted appropriately and fairly is something that only Sink herself knows, and it seems like she officially has set the record straight.