Caleb McLaughlin has spoken frankly about the racism he’s experienced since starring in Netflix’s smash-hit Stranger Things, and you should hear what he has to say.
McLaughlin, now 20, opened up about playing Lucas Sinclair during an appearance at Heroes Comic Con in Belgium on Sunday (Sept 25). Watch McLaughlin speak about the subject below:
He said during a Q&A: “At my very first Comic Con, some people didn't stand in my line because I was Black. Some people told me that, 'Oh I didn’t want to be in your line because you were mean to Eleven'.
“Even now, people don’t follow me or support me because I’m Black, you know."
McLaughlin continued: “Sometimes overseas like you’ll feel the racism, you feel the bigotry... Sometimes it’s hard to talk about that and for people to understand. But, when I was younger it definitely affected me a lot."
The actor also revealed what his parents told him about fans’ favouritism.
"You’re like – this is a deep conversation right now – but you’re like, ‘Why am I the least favourite? Why don’t I have followers? I’m on the same show as everybody from season one’," he added.
"But then my parents had to be like, ‘You know, it’s a sad truth, but it’s because you’re the Black child in the show’."
McLaughlin called the response ‘crazy’ and told the audience he wants to use his platform to ‘spread love’.
He went on: “That’s crazy, 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 don’t give hate back to people who gave hate to me."
McLaughlin was met with applause when he wrapped up his answer, and Twitter has thrown its support behind the talented young star.
One person wrote: “y’all are soooo nasty to black actors/actresses when you don’t like their characters and i really hate that.”
Another added: “please listen to black people when they talk about racism. caleb has dealt with s**t from ‘fans’ of this show for years.”
“It's so deeply disturbing how fandoms absolutely make excuses for white villains they find hot (even when their behaviour is deeply unforgivable) but real Black performers are subject to racist hate for years because their characters didn't treat the fandom favourites ‘properly’,” a third thoughtfully penned.
UNILAD has approached McLaughlin and Netflix for comment.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact Stop Hate UK by visiting their website www.stophateuk.org