Stranger Things star Gaten Matarazzo slammed for 'mean spirited' new Netflix prank show

Gaten Matarazzo arrives for the 24th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards ceremony in 2018.
Gaten Matarazzo arrives for the 24th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards ceremony in 2018. Photo credit: AAP/Mike Nelson.

A young actor from the hit sci-fi show Stranger Things has faced backlash after signing up to host a new hidden-camera prank show targeting people looking for employment.

Gaten Matarazzo, 16, has been recruited by Netflix to host and executive produce the new eight-episode series Prank Encounters. The show is set to launch on the popular video-on-demand service this year. 

"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," says a Netflix press release.

"It’s business as usual until their paths collide and these part-time jobs turn into full-time nightmares."

The description has raised concerns over the intentions of the show, and it is so far unknown whether the pranked individuals will receive compensation - or how they've been selected in the first place.

Matazarro shared his participation in the "epic hidden-camera prank show" on Twitter, which received immediate criticism. Some have called the upcoming show "disgusting" and "mean spirited", while others branded the concept as "genuine cruelty".

"Something else for the unemployed to worry about," said one Twitter user.

Matazarro, who began his acting career on Broadway, shot to fame after landing the main role of Dustin Henderson in Stranger Things. He has since appeared in episodes of Lip Sync Battle and MTV's Ridiculousness, as well as Katy Perry's 'Swish Swish' music video.

The third season of Stranger Things will premiere exclusively worldwide on Netflix on July 4, 2019.

Prank Encounters is set to be released later this year.


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