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Duffer Brothers respond to accusation that Stranger Things was plagiarized, call it 'meritless'

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Apr 4, 2018, 1:22 PM EDT

The Duffer Brothers have responded to the accusation that their Netflix show Stranger Things was plagiarized from Charlie Kessler's short film Montauk. The show was originally titled Montauk and was going to be set in Montauk, New York to underscore the show's Spielberg influence, since the director had used the location as the setting for the fictional Amity Island in 1975's Jaws.

The premise eventually evolved into what is now Stranger Things as we know it, which Kessler claims stole large elements and plot points from his own work. He's slapped the brothers with a lawsuit, but the siblings' attorney, Alex Kohner, released an official statement on their behalf:

"Mr. Kessler’s claim is completely meritless. He had no connection to the creation or development of Stranger Things. The Duffer Brothers have neither seen Mr. Kessler’s short film nor discussed any project with him. This is just an attempt to profit from other people’s creativity and hard work,” said the brothers' attorney Alex Kohner.

This is not the first time the Duffers have come under fire from controversial accusations. In early March, a female member of the show's Camera and Electrical Department announced via Instagram that she would not be working on the third season due to alleged verbal abuse on the part of the Duffers. The abuse, she wrote, had led to firings and people being forced to quit. 

Season 3 of the series will be taking place in 1985 (get ready for tons of Back to the Future references!) and is expected to drop sometime next year.