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Durham's Duffer Brothers, creators of Netflix's 'Stranger Things,' accused of verbal abuse

The Duffer Brothers, who grew up in Durham, on the set of the first season of the Netflix hit “Stranger Things.”
The Duffer Brothers, who grew up in Durham, on the set of the first season of the Netflix hit “Stranger Things.”

Accusations of verbal abuse by the Duffer Brothers on the set of "Stranger Things" are detailed in a Vox story published today.

According to Vox, H. Peyton Brown, a former grip on the Netflix show, wrote on Instagram last week that she "personally witnessed two men in high positions of power on that set [Stranger Things] seek out and verbally abuse multiple women." The Independent reports that Brown confirmed she was referencing the Duffer Brothers in a comment on the post that has since been deleted.

Brown also shared an Instagram post by Lori Grabowski, a former script supervisor on the show, in which Grabowski says she was one of those verbally abused by the brothers.

The brothers, Matt and Ross, are from Durham. They issued a statement to The Hollywood Reporter on Saturday regarding the claims.

"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. 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 issued its own statement, saying the matter has been investigated and no wrongdoing found.

"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.”

The Vox article also noted that the brothers were criticized last year after a 15-year-old actress on the show said she was pushed to do a kissing scene she didn't feel comfortable with.

"Stranger Things," which has aired for two seasons on Netflix, won five Emmys in 2017 and a Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Ensemble Cast. The show has been renewed for a third season, expected in December.

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During the second season of "Stranger Things," the Duffer Brothers planted nods to Durham throughout several episodes, with references to places like Jordan Lake and the Eno River.

Brooke Cain: 919-829-4579, @brookecain