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Matt and Ross Duffer Refute ‘Stranger Things’ Lawsuit: ‘The Claim Is Completely Meritless’

Producer Charlie Kessler claims Matt and Ross Duffer ripped off his 2012 short film "Montauk" in order to create their Netflix series.

Matt and Ross Duffer

Matt and Ross Duffer

Stewart Cook/Variety/REX/Shutterstock

Matt and Ross Duffer have issued an official statement through their attorney Alex Kohner denying the claim they ripped off their Netflix series “Stranger Things” from a 2012 short film entitled “Montauk.” The short’s producer Charlie Kessler filed a lawsuit against the brothers for using “his script, idea, and story” to make “Stranger Things.”

“Mr. Kessler’s claim is completely meritless,” the statement reads. “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.”

According to the lawsuit, Kessler allegedly approached the Duffer brothers in 2014 with an idea to turn “Montauk” into a television series. Kessler says the talks never advanced beyond an idea pitch, although Matt and Ross Duffer refute this claim in their official statement. Kessler’s short film premiered in 2012 and won an award at the Hamptons International Film Festival.

“Stranger Things” is currently streaming its two seasons on Netflix. Production on the third season is expected to begin this summer, which means the show should be ready to return by 2019. IndieWire has reached out to Kessler for further comment.

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