Caleb McLaughlin, who plays Lucas Sinclair – the only leading Black role in the hit Netflix series “Stranger Things” – is speaking out against the racism he’s received from fans of the show since the series first premiered back in 2016.
McLaughlin, who is now 20-years-old but began acting in the show at the age of 14, opened up about the issue at the Heroes Comic Con Belgium convention, saying “it definitely took a toll on me as a younger kid.”
“Some People Didn’t Even Stand In My Line Because I Was Black” McLaughlin Said Of His First Comic Con
He added that “some people didn’t even stand in my line because I was black… (at) my very first Comic Con,” and that “some people told me (that) they didn’t want to be in my line because I was mean to (the series main character) Eleven.”
“It definitely took a toll on me as a younger kid,” “My very first Comic Con, 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 because you were mean to Eleven,’ ” McLaughlin said.
🙏Caleb McLaughlin (@calebmclaughlin) brings an important message to the world at @HComicConBE today. ❤️#StrangerThings https://t.co/CnFUuGf14l
— Heroes Comic Con Belgium (@HComicConBE) September 25, 2022
Despite the fact that this incident would have happened around the time of Season One of the sci-fi show, the actor revealed he continue to face racism from fans even today, specifically mentioning when he’s overseas, saying “it definitely affected me a lot.”
“Even now, some people don’t follow me or don’t support me because I’m black,” McLaughlin 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.”
“Stranger Things” Star Was The Least Favorite On The Show, And Had The Least Amount Of Social Media Followers
The actor said even at 14, he would often question why he was the least favorite character on the show, with the least amount of followers on social media in comparison to his white co-stars.
“Why am I the least favorite? The least amount of followers? I’m on the same show as everybody from Season 1,” he recalled.
McLaughlin added that his parents eventually revealed the “sad truth,” telling him “it’s because you’re the (only) black child on the show.”
“My parents had to be like, ‘It’s a sad truth, but it’s because you’re the black child on the show,’ ” McLaughlin continued. “Because I was born with this beautiful chocolate skin, I’m not loved.”
Racism Hasn’t Stopped “Stranger Things” Star From Spreading “Positivity And Love”
McLaughlin said the racism he’s experienced still hasn’t stopped him from spreading “positivity and love,” saying he will “not give hate back to people who give hate to me.”
“I do not give hate back to people who give hate to me,” McLaughlin shared.
McLaughlin is set to return for the fifth and final season of the series. According to David Harbour, the series is likely to begin filming next year, with an eye toward a summer 2024 release date.