The ‘Stranger Things’ Creators Respond To Allegations Of Verbal Abuse On Set — REPORT
On Thursday, March 8, a former Stranger Things crew member shared allegations of verbal abuse on set of the Netflix series. According to Deadline, the crew member, Peyton Brown, later identified series creators Matt and Ross Duffer as the ones responsible for this alleged abuse. In her Instagram post, Brown claims to have witnessed the men allegedly "seek out and verbally abuse" women on the set. As a result, Netflix reportedly looked into the allegations and said in a statement that they found "no wrongdoing." The Duffer brothers also responded to the claims and said they are "deeply upset to learn that someone felt uncomfortable on our set." They added that they don't want anyone to "mischaracterize" the set.
In a statement to Bustle on Saturday, a Netflix spokesperson said,
"We looked into the concern that was raised when we heard of the allegation on Thursday, and found no wrongdoing. Maintaining a safe, respectful atmosphere on set is important to us, and we know it is to the Duffer Brothers as well."
As for Brown's post, tied to International Women's Day, she wrote,
"I guess there's no better day than #nationalwomensday to say #timesup and announce that I will not be a part of the filming of Season 3 of Stranger Things. Why, you ask? Because I stand with my sisters. I personally witnessed two men in high positions of power on that set seek out and verbally abuse multiple women. I promised myself that if I were ever in a situation to say something that I would. I have 11.5 thousand followers who can hear me say this, TIME IS UP. Women in the film industry are POWERFUL. We will rise and we will scream from mountain tops in support of each other and I will not contribute my time, efforts, and talent to such abusive people."
While Brown didn't explicitly name the Duffers, she reportedly later clarified that she was talking about them in the comment section. The comments have since been removed, but Entertainment Tonight Canada has screenshots of her allegations of verbal abuse, which reportedly includes claims that the brothers yelled at, insulted, and threatened female crew members. She further claims that some people were fired or forced to quit as a result of the alleged verbal abuse.
On Saturday, the Duffers issued the following a statement to Bustle, emphasizing their commitment to provide a "safe and collaborative" work environment:
"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."
Brown's Instagram post went on to praise other men she has worked with in the industry, and her desire to seek employment elsewhere. She wrote,
"There are too many amazing and highly respected men in respective positions of power that I have had the utmost pleasure of working beside. Those are the people I want to surround myself with. Those are the projects I want to be a part of. This industry is no longer led by a "few good men," but instead by an OCEAN of ASTOUNDING WOMEN. Enough is enough. For my sisters — Time is up."
The mention of "Time is up" is likely a nod to Hollywood's Time's Up movement, which aims to promote equality and end harassment in the workplace, and to make working environments safe for women, people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, immigrants, and everyone else.
Stranger Things has been renewed for Season 3, and the show is in the early stages of production. It's currently unclear how these allegations may impact filming, if at all.