Stranger Things Creators Accused of Verbally Abusing Women on Set
This is definitely not the Stranger Things update we were expecting. While fans await the highly-anticipated third season of the Netflix series, it has come to everyone's attention that life on set might not be the most positive. On Thursday, in honor of International Women’s Day, former crew member Peyton Brown announced that she would not be returning for season three — and for a very specific reason. She revealed that “two men in high positions of power” verbally abuse women on the set and she wasn’t going to tolerate it anymore. The men she's referring to? Matt and Ross Duffer, aka The Duffer Brothers, aka the men behind the hit show.
“I personally witnessed two men in high positions of power on that set seek out and verbally abuse multiple women,” she wrote in a lengthy Instagram post. “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. There is too much going on in this world to be regressive.”
She continued, “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.”
According to IMDb, “H. Peyton Brown” worked as a grip (which is a member of a camera crew responsible for building and maintaining all the equipment that supports cameras) for the Netflix show in 2017. Though Peyton does not identify the abusers by name in her post, she does confirm she's referring to the Duffer Brothers in the comments. According to screenshots taken by Entertainment Tonight, Peyton also states that there was yelling, insults, and threats on set.
She has since disabled the comments section of her post, however, Matt and Ross have issued an apology, which we're going to assume is them taking responsibility for their actions on set. In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, they said:
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 released their own statement, not only defending the Stranger Things creators but also revealing that they've investigated the matter: “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.”
Some weren't necessarily shocked to hear allegations of mistreatment of women on set considering the season two controversy that involved the Duffer Brothers' response to actress Sadie Sink‘s discomfort over having her first kiss unexpectedly added into the shooting schedule. Ross Duffer said to Sadie during an episode of Beyond Stranger Things, “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.'” It was this comment that set many fans of the show into an uproar. Sadie later clarified to The Wrap, “But I never objected to [the kiss] or felt pushed into anything.”
Despite both Netflix and the Duffer Brothers' statements, no one should ever feel uncomfortable on set. We admire Peyton for standing up for what she knows is right so that this never happens again.