“You sense the bigotry,” McLaughlin said. “Sometimes it’s hard to talk about and people understand, but when I was younger it definitely influenced me a lot.”
Stranger Things actor Caleb McLaughlin addresses the racial backlash he suffered as a child star on the first season of the viral Netflix series.
McLaughlin has starred as Lucas since Season 1 alongside Finn Wolfhard, Noah Schnapp and Gaten Matarazzo, and as Stranger Things neared its fifth and final season, McLaughlin reflected on how his career has taken a different turn than his co-stars.
“Why am I the least popular? [Have] the fewest followers?” McLaughlin said in a “deep conversation” during Heroes Comic Con Belgium. “I’m on the same show as everyone from Season 1.”
McLaughlin spoke about how “as a younger kid, it definitely took a toll on me” to be seen differently.
“At my very first Comic-Con, some people didn’t stand in my line because I was black,” McLaughlin said. “Some people said to me, ‘Oh, I didn’t want to be in your line because you were mean to Eleven.’ Even now, some people don’t follow or support me because I’m black. Sometimes you can feel the racism abroad, you can feel the bigotry. Sometimes it’s hard to talk about and people to understand, but when I was younger it definitely influenced me a lot.”
He added, “My parents had to say, ‘It’s a sad truth, but that’s because you’re the black kid on the show … Because I was born with this beautiful chocolate skin, I’m not loved. But that’s why I want to spread positivity and love with my platform, because I don’t give hate back to people who hate me.”
McLaughlin previously spoke to IndieWire about fan reactions to the racial trauma Lucas endured throughout the show. “I’ve been reading comments recently and I remember people’s theories on Part 2 of Episode 9. People were like, ‘What kind of trauma did Luke go through?’ And I’ve been looking through it all, well, his girlfriend’s brother didn’t like him because he was black, he was also mocked [for] his skin color in Season 1. People miss those things,” he said.
McLaughlin was 14 when Stranger Things premiered in 2016. McLaughlin’s comments follow Obi-Wan Kenobi actress Moses Ingram, House of the Dragon actor Steve Toussiant and The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power star Ismael Cruz received by the so-called fans of their franchises.
McLaughlin’s “Stranger Things” co-star Millie Bobby Brown, who plays Eleven on the show, previously revealed that she has endured sexist comments and “gross” sexual messages since she was 18.
The Duffer Brothers are currently working on Stranger Things 5, following another hugely successful release of Stranger Things on Netflix earlier this year.
– Heroes Comic Con Belgium (@HComicConBE) September 25, 2022
https://www.indiewire.com/2022/09/stranger-things-caleb-mclaughlin-calls-out-racist-fans-1234767098/ Stranger Things: Caleb McLaughlin calls out racist fans for ‘bigotry’