Stranger Lawsuits

Stranger Things up for a lawsuit after alleged plagiarism claims

Claudia Pilarski, Junior Writer

The world of “Stranger Things” is about to be turned upside-down. The creators of the hit Netflix series are being accused of plagiarism by a short film director named Charlie Kessler. Kessler alleges that Matt and Ross Duffer stole the idea for “Stranger Things” when they met at Tribeca Film Festival in 2014. The lawsuit is only the tip of the iceberg for Kessler: he wants to have the entire series taken off of Netflix.

According to Kessler, he and the Duffer Brothers began a conversation about Kessler’s short film titled “Montauk,” which he premiered at Tribeca. The short film centered on a boy named Michael who goes missing in Montauk, New York, a town known for strange, otherworldly occurrences and a conspiracy surrounding a government lab performing experiments on children. The concept also included children with supernatural abilities, a monster from another dimension, and a cop with a haunted past. Sound familiar?

Kessler has filed a lawsuit against the creators for plagiarism and using his idea without consent or compensation. In filing the lawsuit, Kessler seeks restitution and for all materials based on his concepts to be destroyed. The series was originally released by Netflix under the title “Montauk,” which further proves Kessler’s claim, but it’s likely that the case might not even go to court unless he can provide physical evidence of plagiarism by the Duffer Brothers.

In response, Matt and Ross Duffer allege that Kessler’s claims are “completely meritless” and deny any conversations between them and Kessler involving the concepts of “Stranger Things.”

“This is just an attempt to profit from other people’s creativity and hard work,” Alex Kohner, the Duffer Brothers’ attorney, said in a statement to CNN. Netflix has not yet addressed the issue.

What does this mean for the future of “Stranger Things”? Unless Kessler can provide unwavering evidence supporting his case, it is likely that the series will not be taken from Netflix. If the case is taken to court, Kessler will likely receive compensation and be sent on his way. Fans of “Stranger Things” can rejoice over a man’s broken dreams.