HomeArts and EntertainmentsCaleb McLaughlin: ‘Stranger Things’ fans won’t support me because I am black

Caleb McLaughlin: ‘Stranger Things’ fans won’t support me because I am black

Caleb McLaughlin: ‘Stranger Things’ fans won’t support me because I am black

Stranger Things star Caleb McLaughlin says he was treated unfairly by racist fans of the Netflix hit when it first premiered back in 2016. McLaughlin first began playing Lucas Sinclair on the sci-fi series when he was 14 years old, and shared at Sunday’s (Sept. 25) Heroes Comic Con Belgium convention that some Stranger Things fans avoided him at his first Comic-Con because of his race.

“It definitely took a toll on me as a younger kid. Some people didn’t stand in my line because I was Black. Some people told me, ‘Oh I didn’t want to be in your line but because you were mean to Eleven,’” he said, referring to the character played by Millie Bobbie Brown.

He continues to face racism today, McLaughlin said, explaining, “Even now, some people don’t follow me or don’t support me because I’m Black.”

The actor continued, “Sometimes overseas you feel the racism, you feel the bigotry. Sometimes it’s hard to talk about and for people to understand, but when I was younger it definitely affected me a lot.”

Specifically, he noticed that his co-stars got more attention on social media, and recalled thinking, “Why am I the least favorite [with] the least amount of followers? I’m on the same show as everybody from Season 1.”

McLaughlin said he had a difficult conversation with his parents about the “sad truth” of being treated differently by Stranger Things fans as “the Black child on the show.”

He added, “Because I was born with this beautiful chocolate skin, I’m not loved. But that’s why with my platform I want to spread positivity and love because I do not give hate back to people who give hate to me.”

McLaughlin will reprise his role as Lucas when Stranger Things returns for Season 5, which will likely drop on Netflix sometime between 2023 and 2024. McLaughlin’s experience with racist fans of the show is unfortunately a shared experience amongst actors of color in Hollywood.

Just this summer, multiple reports of toxic experiences with fans have circulated online, including stories about hate directed at The Flash’s Candice Patton, as well as actors on both the new Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones series.

When child actor Leah Jeffries on was harassed by racist Percy Jackson and the Olympians fans in May after her casting was announced, author Rick Riordan slammed the online trolls, saying in a statement, “You are judging her appropriateness for this role solely and exclusively on how she looks. She is a Black girl playing someone who was described in the books as white. Friends, that is racism.”

This article was reported by the Decider.