The co-creators of the hit Netflix series Stranger Things, brothers Ross and Matt Duffer, have issued an apology following public claims by a former crew member that they’ve verbally abused women on set. They maintained, however, that they feel the story has been “mischaracterized.”
The former crew member, Peyton Brown, took to Instagram this week to announce that she wasn’t returning to the show for its upcoming third season—and for a very specific reason. Namely, she said, “two men in high positions of power” verbally abuse women on the set and she wasn’t going to tolerate it anymore.
“I personally witnessed two men in high positions of power on that set seek out and verbally abuse multiple women,” Brown 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.”
The Duffer brothers released a statement on Saturday responding to the allegations, containing both an apology and a defense of their on-set environment.
“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,” the statement said, as detailed by Deadline. “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.”
Netflix, for its part, reportedly told BuzzFeed News that the verbal abuse allegations against the Duffer brothers have been investigated and that the company found “no evidence of wrongdoing” on their parts. The third season of Stranger Things has already been confirmed, but there’s still no official date for its release.