Netflix and the team behind Stranger Things have now both responded after a former crew member accused Matt and Ross Duffer of being verbally abusive on the sci-fi hit’s set. H. Peyton Brown, who worked in the camera department for several episodes of the show, posted on Instagram last week that she witnessed verbal abuse in the workplace and that she would no longer be involved with the series. The Duffer brothers and Netflix acknowledged Brown’s complaint in respective statements, with the showrunners apologizing for the “high-stress nature of production” and Netflix saying it found no evidence of wrongdoing.
Brown’s original post called out “two men in high positions of power on that set” (she later confirmed she was talking about the Duffer brothers) for “seek[ing] out and verbally abus[ing] multiple women.” As she shared her story on International Women’s Day, she used the current wave of #MeToo and #TimesUp and her duty to her “sisters” to frame why she decided to come forward with this accusation now. “Why, you ask? Because I stand with my sisters,” Brown wrote, describing what she says she saw and heard. “I promised myself that if I were ever in a situation to say something that I would.”
In response, the Duffer brothers said they were sorry for the sometimes tense set.
But they also insisted that their shooting environment is a “safe and collaborative” space:
Netflix skipped the apology in its statement, focusing instead on how their team handled the accusation and their support for the brothers and the show.
The streaming site didn’t elaborate on what, exactly, “look[ing] into the concern” means or how they were able to establish “no wrongdoing” had taken place.
With both parties emphasizing their commitment to making cast and crew feel safe and equal, a little more acknowledgment of their former colleague’s allegation and a little less minimizing of her experience would have helped. Netflix has shown its dedication to holding power players accountable for bad behavior in recent months, ditching accused abuser Kevin Spacey and The Ranch‘s Danny Masterson. That drastic a measure may not have been called for in this case, but anyone who feels mistreatment is happening deserves to have his or her voice heard.
We hope Netflix and the Stranger Things team keep listening as the show heads toward Season 3.