Stranger Things' Caleb McLaughlin addresses the racism he's experienced within the fandom
27 September 2022, 11:35
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"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’".
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Stranger Things star Caleb McLaughlin has opened up about the racism he's experienced from the show's fandom since the series started back in 2016.
The actor, who plays Lucas Sinclair, on the Netflix show spoke to an audience of fans at Heroes Comic Con in Belgium on Sunday (Sept 25). During a Q&A session, Caleb addressed how he has been treated by fans – particularly in the early seasons of the show – because of the colour of his skin.
In a video from the convention that's since gone viral on social media, Caleb also shared his experiences at other conventions in the past, and explained how his meet-and-greet line was usually shorter than his co-stars' lines.
"It affected me when I was a kid," Caleb says. "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."
He 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."
here's caleb talking about how he had to deal with racism just because he was "the black kid who was mean to eleven in season 1" and felt like it was important to share his thoughts on that :) #StrangerThings #TUDUM #CalebMcLaughlin @HComicConBE pic.twitter.com/JZoXS9aaBW— leon ☾ met timothée (@spideychaIamet) September 25, 2022
"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’," Caleb 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’."
"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."
At the end of his answer, Caleb was met with applause and cheers from the audience. And after the video went viral on social media, fans also flocked to share their thoughts and support with the actor.
It's so deeply disturbing how fandoms absolutely make excuses for white villains they find hot (even when their behavior is deeply unforgivable) but real Black performers are subject to racist hate for years because their characters didn't treat the fandom favorites "properly" https://t.co/0YFVvOB80F— stitch (@stitchmediamix) September 25, 2022
even if lucas was mean to eleven (he really wasn’t and he apologized) what does that have to do with caleb… like y’all are soooo nasty to black actors/actresses when you don’t like their characters and i really hate that https://t.co/BwXEURkKBf— mina 🥀 no. 1 lucidream stan (@thoughtsbymina) September 26, 2022
please listen to black people when they talk about racism. caleb has dealt with shit from ‘fans’ of this show for years pic.twitter.com/wQIcqjaUG4— elle♡ (@hwkins83) July 22, 2022
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