The creators of “Stranger Things,” the Duffer brothers, have just been accused of being verbally abusive towards women on set of filming. Matt and Ross Duffer have apologized with a sort of blanket apology, and added their own thoughts on the situation. Here’s their statement: “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.”
Now the backstory. A woman who works on the set as a grip (one who builds things for filming on set, like camera supports and lighting rigs) announced that she won’t be a part of season 3 filming because she stands with her sisters. She said she witnessed “two men in high positions of power on that set seek out and verbally abuse multiple women.” She went on to say that women in the film industry are strong and that they will rise up and support each other. We’ll link out to her full message because of some language in the photo, but you can see her full Instagram post here.
The Duffer brothers had more to say in their statement though: “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.” Now, we weren’t on set so we can’t know for sure, but being in the industry and knowing how things work behind the scenes – yes, things get heated sometimes. The director(s) get ideas, the producers have other ideas, arguments start, crew members aren’t sure if they should listen to the director or the producers (typically the director wins though), and then they start getting yelled at for doing something different – it gets to be a mess. Especially when there are deadlines and while working with actors under 18 years old (very strict regulations on time). We’re not defending anyone until we know more info, but I have a feeling that someone’s feelings got hurt in this case rather than any sort of singled-out verbal abuse, but once again, we won’t know until there’s more info.
Obviously we don’t condone any sort of abuse, verbal or otherwise, towards any gender, race, orientation, etc. It just seems like there’s something missing from this story. But the Duffer brothers certainly aren’t untouchable, and that goes for anyone in the industry. Nobody has the “power” to be disrespectful in any amount to anyone. Hopefully we’ll see some more from this story, however Netflix’s official response is: “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.” Take it as you will.
Will these accusations make you think any less of the Duffer brothers and “Stranger Things,” or do you believe in “innocent until proven guilty?” With all the other accusations flying around in Hollywood, do these stories carry more weight, or do you feel like people are starting to exaggerate their stories for the sake of “#MeToo?” Are you going to pass on “Stranger Things” for season 3 because of the accusations? Read some more about the accusation here.