Stranger Things actor Caleb McLaughlin revealed that he faced racism from the show’s fans as a kid and it impacted him deeply. He reflected on his first Comic-Con experience while speaking at the Heroes Comic Con Belgium convention. 

The 20-year-old claimed that some fans of the Netflix sci-fi series did not want to stand in line to meet him because of the way his character, Lucas Sinclair, treated Eleven in Season 1. 

“It definitely took a toll on me as a younger kid”, McLaughlin said, adding, “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 but because you were mean to Eleven.'” 

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The actor explained that it still happens sometimes, saying, “Even now some people don’t follow me or don’t support me because I’m Black. 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.”

When he started the series at 14, McLaughlin wondered why he was the least favourite and had fewer followers than his co-stars. “I’m on the same show as everybody from season one”, the Stranger Things actor remembered thinking. At that time, his parents had to tell him about life’s realities. 

McLaughlin recalled, “My parents had to be like, ‘It’s a sad truth, but it’s because you’re the Black child on the show”, adding, “Because I was born with this beautiful chocolate skin, I’m not loved.” 

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Now, the actor has learned not to let such instances get him down. He said, “…with my platform I want to spread positivity and love”, adding, “because I do not give hate back to people who give hate to me.” In the most recent season of Stranger Things, Lucas and his sister were targeted by the basketball team from Hawkins High, while they were pursuing Eddie Munson, believing him to have killed Chrissy, the cheerleader. The attacks on the Sinclair family have been decried as racist by fans of the Duffer brothers’ series.