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Stranger Things has become a worldwide phenomenon since the first season dropped on Netflix on July 15th, 2016. It’s won a plethora of awards, revived Winona Ryder’s career, and turned the younger cast members into bona fide stars.

Gaten Matarazzo is one of those launched into stardom. In Stranger Things, the actor plays beloved character Dustin - the one who dishes out iconic bits of wisdom such as:

“Mornings are for coffee and contemplation.”

“You shouldn’t like things because people tell you you’re supposed to.”

But the public has taken the last quote to heart. On June 13th, 2019, the emotion share of online conversation around the actor was impressively 64% Positive and 34% Neutral.

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Then, news broke on the morning of June 14th that Netflix had ordered eight episodes of Prank Encounters, a Punk’d style show starring and executive produced by Gaten. The SVOD platform described the new series as a, “…terrifying and hilarious prank show (that) takes two complete strangers who each think they’re starting their first day at a new job. It’s business as usual until their paths collide and these part-time jobs turn into full-time nightmares.”
Public uproar was immediate. Sentiment toward Gaten shifted dramatically overnight. 82% of online conversation around him was tagged Anger/Disgust the next day, while Joy sunk to a measly 0.6%.

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The show’s premise was widely criticized as cruel and tasteless – and wrath fell not only on Gaten, but his parents, his agent, and Netflix as well.

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Opinion pieces such as Washington Examiner’s “It’s time for prank shows to die” and Care2’s petition to cancel the show (signed by 2,000 as of June 19th) flooded the news, and negative attention surrounding the show snowballed.
Netflix made a statement to TIME on June 19th to clarify that, “All participants came in with the expectation this was a one-day, hourly gig and everyone got paid for their time,”but it did little to calm the public.
Anger/Disgust maintained a 76% share of online conversation about Gaten over June 16th - June 21st.

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Though Gaten clarified in an Instagram video that all show participants were told it was a one-day job and duly compensated, negative comments continue and Anger/Disgust remains high.
What are your thoughts on Prank Encounters? Yay or nay? Sound off on our Twitter.

Strangely Yours,

P.S: Sent from the Upside Down.