Netflix Responds To Backlash Over Stranger Things Star's New Prank Show

Dustin Gaten Matarazzo Stranger Things Netflix

As the premiere for Stranger Things Season 3 nears, Netflix is under fire for an upcoming show involving one of its stars. Folks were disappointed to learn Gaten Matarazzo's upcoming prank series Prank Encounters allegedly preyed on the unemployed, and appeared to exploit the jobless with an elaborate prank that resulted in them ultimately having to look for another job. After a period of silence Netflix has released a statement regarding the show in an attempt to explain the circumstances.

The pranks in Prank Encounters are spooky, supernatural, and over the top, and everyone had a great time. All participants came in with the expectation this was a one-day, hourly gig and everyone got paid for their time.

The major takeaway here is that it seems that everyone was informed going in that the job they signed up for would be a one-day, hourly gig. This means everyone that participated in Prank Encounters was made aware that there would be no next day or long-term employment, which would dismiss the notion that these people believed they were getting into a job that was anything more than temporary.

Additionally, Netflix maintains that everyone involved in Prank Encounters had a great time, so it would appear that no one was all that bent out of shape following the end of their chaotic and potentially horrifying work day. Provided that everything Netflix said is legit, then there's no reason to believe Prank Encounters is anything more than just some good fun.

With that being said, it's not as though this statement was completely unnecessary. Many people struggle to find employment, so the outrage of many that a progressive platform like Netflix would potentially prey on the unemployed, all for the sake of entertainment, was certainly a bad look for the show. It also wasn't the best look for Gaten Matarazzo, who caught a fair amount of flak on social media for his involvement in Prank Encounters when it was first announced.

Though Netflix has spoken out on behalf of Prank Encounters, Gaten Matarazzo has not said anything to defend the show. His Twitter looks the same as it did the day he retweeted an article referencing the announcement, and he's carried on posting on Instagram without making reference to the controversy. Most likely, he's done so under the advisement of Netflix or his PR team, and now that a statement is out, he probably won't release anything on his own.

Gaten Matarazzo will host Prank Encounters, a prank show in which people attend a day on a job only to be led to believe they're experiencing supernatural or horrifying events. It sounds like it lands somewhere between the realm of Punk'd and Scare Tactics, which, on paper, sounds like a winning formula. Perhaps it may still be, now that those who opposed it know that everyone involved wasn't misled and thought this was a long-term job offer.

Stranger Things Season 3: What We Know So Far

Stick with CinemaBlend for more updates on upcoming Netflix originals, including the upcoming release of Stranger Things Season 3 Thursday, July 4 at 12:01 a.m. PT.

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.