Stranger Things creators Matt and Ross Duffer have responded to accusations of verbal abuse from a former crew member. In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, the Duffer brothers said they were “deeply upset to learn someone felt uncomfortable on our set.”
Last week, Stranger Things crew member Peyton Brown announced on Instagram that she would not return for the show’s third season due to on-set verbal abuse. “I personally witnessed two men in high positions of power on that set seek out and verbally abuse multiple women,” she wrote in the post.
Brown did not mention the Duffer brothers by name nor detail the abuse in her initial post, but did in comments which have since been deleted. Variety reports that one comment from Brown read: “There was yelling, there were insults, there were threats and people were even fired or forced to quit because of them.”
In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, the Duffer brothers said:
“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.”
Since then, other women have spoken in support of Brown. Stranger Things script supervisor Lori Grabowski also posted on Instagram substantiating Brown’s comments and specifically mentioning Stranger Things in her caption. Grabowski said she was speaking out after she saw many people accusing Brown of being a liar. “It was very real not only to me, but other women on the set that also want to share their story. Peyton Brown witnessed not only my experience, but the similar experiences of others.”
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. There is too much going on in this world to be regressive. 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. #timesup #theabusestopsnow #ontobiggerandbetter #standupforwhatsright #womenempowerment #ladygrip #sisterhood #iatsesisters #wewillbeheard #thispicsaysitall
Brown has since reposted a photo from Instagram user llpetralia, whose account is private, which shows she is also standing by Brown’s accusations. “I was also one of the women who had to experience this first hand on the set of Stranger Things,” the caption on the reblogged photo reads. There is a Laura Petralia listed as a property assistant on Stranger Things’ IMDb page.
Netflix has issued a statement saying the company looked into the issue 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,” the company said. Stranger Things was renewed for a third season last year, though it might not air until 2019.