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Gaten Matarazzo
courtesy of Instagram/@gatenm123

Stranger Things’ Gaten Matarazzo’s new prank show tricks unemployed people

Netflix series Prank Encounters is being widely criticised for its cruel concept

Stranger Things star Gaten Matarazzo has faced scrutiny for signing up to take part in a prank show on Netflix that targets people who are looking for work. Called Prank Encounters, the hidden camera episode series involves tricking complete strangers who think they’re starting their first day at a new job – as if that isn’t scary enough.

The 16-year-old actor, also known for his role as Dustin in Stranger Things, will host and executive produce the eight-episode series, which is set for release later this year. Matarazzo will be joined by Ben Silverman, Howard Owens, Kevin Healy and Rob Hyde, who will also work as executive producers on the show.

“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. It’s business as usual until their paths collide and these part-time jobs turn into full-time nightmares,” reads a press release.

You’d think that running a show that essentially makes fun of the unemployed would raise serious red flags (affording rent is stressful enough when you have a job let alone when you don’t), but apparently not. Ashton Kutcher’s Punk’d TV show might have been an early-noughties MTV smash hit but there’s a huge difference between targeting celebrities and unemployed people. Also, it’s 2019, people, and this should be a big highlighted and underlined no.

Of course, Matarazzo is still young, and will probably never have to do a typical 9-5, so the news speaks more about Netflix’s commissioners than anything else. But as you can imagine, the internet isn’t happy.

“Hey Gaten, this isn’t the group of people to be pulling pranks on. Please reconsider this one. Punch up, not down,” said one Twitter user.

“As someone who had crippling depression when I was out of work for five months after being unceremoniously dropped by a company I had been with for 12 years, someone playing a joke like this would have broken me, and I guarantee there are people who this might drive to self-harm,” read another tweet.

Meanwhile, Stranger Things 3 is set to launch all of its episodes July 4, 2019.