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.”
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.