On Tuesday (April 3), word got out that Stranger Things creators Matt and Ross Duffer were being sued by a man named Charlie Kessler for stealing the concept of their hit Netflix series. Today (April 4), the siblings spoke out about the lawsuit with a statement issued by their attorney Alex Kohner.

“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.”

Kessler says Stranger Things is based on his short film, Montauk, which came out in 2012, and his pitch was for a series that was going to be called The Montauk Project. Both stories are set in the New York town of the same name, which Kessler says is home to "various urban legends, and paranormal and conspiracy theories." In 2015, The Duffer Brothers sold Stranger Things to Netflix; however, at the time, the show was going to be called Montauk and take place there, instead of the fictional Hawkins, Indiana.

Though Kessler's Montauk mirrors Stranger Things in a lot of ways—a boy's mysterious disappearance; a cop with a haunted past; a conspiracy about a nearby military base conducting experiments on children; a monster from another dimension—what The Duffers have in their favor is the fact that Kessler's idea was based off a real-life conspiracy from the 1970s. Stranger Things was reportedly inspired by the same events, and then became the ultimate '80s pop culture nostalgia show everyone knows and loves.

The Duffer Brothers are currently working on the third season of Stranger Things, which is due out in 2019.


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