Netflix Defends Prank Show Starring Stranger Things Actor Following Backlash

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Netflix has defended its newly announced prank show, Prank Encounters, following criticism that the program is taking unfair (and unfunny) advantage of people who were looking for jobs.

A Netflix spokesperson told TIME on Wednesday that the people who took part the show were not under the impression that they were starting full-time jobs. “The pranks in Prank Encounters are spooky, supernatural, and over the top, and everyone had a great time,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “All participants came in with the expectation this was a one-day, hourly gig and everyone got paid for their time.”

Last week, the streaming giant said it had ordered eight episodes of the series, a hidden-camera show executive produced and hosted by Gaten Matarazzo. Matarazzo is otherwise known for playing Dustin on Stranger Things.

“Each episode of this terrifying and hilarious prank show takes two complete strangers who each think they’re starting their first day at a new job,” Netflix said in its initial description of the series, as reported by Deadline. “It’s business as usual until their paths collide and these part-time jobs turn into full-time nightmares.” The description prompted backlash online, as people took issue with its potentially mean-spirited concept, messing with those who are looking for work.

Netflix appears to have since updated its press release announcing the show to remove the language that prompted criticism. Its announcement now calls the series “an epic hidden-camera prank show.”

Representatives for Matarazzo and Propagate Content, the production company behind the series, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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