Stranger Things actress Sadie Sink has clarified that she never objected to her on-screen kiss with Caleb McLaughlin. Her statement comes in response to public backlash and fan concern surrounding comments made in the series' aftershow, Beyond Stranger Things. Co-creator Ross Duffer said that the kiss — an originally unscripted moment between her character, Max, and McLaughlin's Lucas in the season 2 finale — was "all [her] own fault" because she'd seemed so nervous about the idea.
"You reacted so strongly to this—I was just joking—and you were so freaked out that I was like well, I gotta make her do it now… that’s why I’m saying it’s your fault," he said during the aftershow. Sink, meanwhile, reiterated that it had made her feel "stressed out." Many fans took issue with the exchange, and chided the Duffer brothers on social media for seemingly forcing a 15-year-old girl into a situation she wasn't comfortable with.
Now, however, Sink has pulled back on her remarks. “I mean, of course I was nervous because it’s a first kiss, right?” she told The Wrap. “But I never objected to [it] or felt pushed into anything.” She went on to note that she was "really comfortable" with McLaughlin, because she knew him from living in New York City, and that the scene had been important to the story. She continued:
“I always felt comfortable and the Duffer Brothers, they do the best job, and always create a comfortable space. And if I felt uncomfortable with anything, I wouldn’t have done it.”
The Wrap reports that they then asked if anyone had prepped her about what to say about the kiss, at which point a publicist intervened to say she believed Sink had answered the question fully. There was a pause, and the cast moved on to discussing skateboarding.
It's unclear what exactly occurred on set, but the incident comes at a time when concerns of safety and consent in Hollywood have become part of a national discourse. Film mogul Harvey Weinstein has been accused of sexual misconduct by upwards of 50 women, while actors including Kevin Spacey and John Grissom have come under fire for allegations of sexual assault against minors.
That's not to say the Duffer brothers should be placed in the same vein, but certainly it should bring up discussions about power dynamics on set and what constitutes appropriate behavior. Even if Sink was only initially hesitant, the kiss was a delicate scene for such young actors, and it should have warranted a conversation with both her and McLaughlin. Hopefully, the Duffers will take the criticism to heart.
Stranger Things 2 is available to stream on Netflix.
Source: The Wrap