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Stranger Things' Caleb McLoughlin Says Racism from Fans Has 'Affected Him a Lot'

"It definitely took a toll on me as a younger kid."
  • Caleb McLaughlin in Stranger Things. (Photo: Netflix)
    Caleb McLaughlin in Stranger Things. (Photo: Netflix)

    Caleb McLaughlin has suffered some ugly treatment from fans during his time on Stranger Things.

    During the Heroes Comic Con Belgium convention this weekend, McLaughlin revealed that he had experienced racism from fans of the show early on. "It definitely took a toll on me as a younger kid," said McLaughlin, now 20. "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.'"

    "Even now some people don't follow me or don't support me because I'm Black," he 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."

    While McLaughlin boasts some 15 million followers on Instagram, he is the least-followed of the six young Stranger Things leads. "Why am I the least favorite? The least amount of followers? I'm on the same show as everybody from season 1," said the actor. 

    "My parents had to be like, 'it's a sad truth, but it's because you're the Black child on the show… Because I was born with this beautiful chocolate skin, I'm not loved," McLoughlin continued. "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."

    McLoughlin has played Lucas Sinclair since he was 14 years old, alongside other Dungeons and Dragons core members Finn Wolfhard (Mike), Noah Schnapp (Will), and Gaten Matarazzo (Dustin). Stranger Things first debuted in 2016, and its fifth and final season is currently being written.

    Stranger Things is streaming on Netflix.

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    Jade Budowski is a freelance writer with a knack for ruining punchlines and harboring dad-aged celebrity crushes. She was previously a reporter/producer at Decider and is a member of the Television Critics Association. Follow her on Twitter: @jadebudowski.

    TOPICS: Stranger Things, Netflix