Much to the dismay of fans, troubling allegations rocked the Stranger Things world this weekend. On Friday, a former crew member claimed that “two men in high positions of power” had verbally abused multiple women on set. And on Sunday, Matt and Ross Duffer — the show’s creators and, presumably, the men of power — responded with a statement.
“We are deeply upset to learn that someone felt uncomfortable on our set,” the Duffer Brothers said in a statement obtained by Variety. “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.”
The Duffer brothers are referring to claims (which they call a mischaracterization) that stem from a lengthy Instagram post by Peyton Brown, who was previously part of the series’ camera department. In the post, Brown explained that she would not be returning for the filming of Season 3 of Stranger Things because of this abuse.
“I personally witnessed two men in high positions of power on that set seek out and verbally abuse multiple women,” she wrote. “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.”
Brown went on to point out that there are many men in power who do not abuse their power, and those were the type of people creating the type of projects she would pursue.
Following her allegations, Brown received a wave of backlash, mostly accusing her of lying. However, two more former crew members have come forward. Lori Grabowski, the show’s script supervisor for almost two seasons, explained she hadn’t intended to come forward until she saw how unfairly Brown was being treated.
“I am one of those women Peyton referenced. 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,” Grabowski wrote.
Laura Petralia, the show’s property assistant from 2016 to 2017, also came forward. Although her Instagram account is now private, Brown shared a post from Petralia that began, “I also stand behind Peyton Brown because I was also one of the women who had to experience this first hand on the set of Stranger Things.”
Although these posts don’t detail what the alleged verbal abuse entailed, a previous version of Brown’s post reportedly elaborated in the comments, “There was yelling, there were insults, there were threats, and people were even fired or forced to quit because of them.”
According to Variety, a spokesperson for Netflix said the network “found no wrongdoing” upon looking into the allegations. Stranger Things is slated to return for Season 3 sometime in 2019.