Actor Caleb McLaughlin, 20, who stars as Lucas Sinclair in the Netflix hit series, Stranger Things, has spoken out about feeling like the "least favourite" at fan events due to racism – something he said began to "take a toll" on his mental health.
Speaking at the Heroes Comic Con convention in Belgium recently, Caleb shared that at previous events, he noticed the queue for his meet and greets were a lot shorter than those for his co-stars', despite playing a main character. A video of him speaking out was posted by a fan on Twitter, who wrote: "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."
"My very first Comic-Con, some people didn't stand in my line because I was Black," Caleb shared, adding that it prompted him to ask his parents why he was the "least favourite" despite being "on the same show as everybody".
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
— L ☾ met timothée (@spideychaIamet) September 25, 2022
In response, Caleb says, his parents told him, "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.
"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."
The actor also added that some fans had suggested people were less keen to chat with him due to his character Lucas "being mean" to Millie Bobby Brown's character, Eleven, in season one.
Caleb said despite these negative experiences, he's only all the more determined to remain positive and use his platform to spread joy.
"With my platform I want to spread positivity and love," he said. "Because I do not give hate back to people who give hate to me."
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