Caleb McLaughlin spoke about the "toll" that racism in the "Stranger Things" fandom took on him.
McLaughlin said he wondered as a child why he wasn't as favored as his white castmates.
Other Black actors, like John Boyega, have spoken about the racism they've suffered in fandom.
Caleb McLaughlin spoke about the "toll" that racism in the "Stranger Things" fandom took on him, from his childhood onwards.
In a video recorded during McLaughlin's appearance at Heroes Comic Con Belgium, posted to Twitter by the user @spideychalamet, McLaughlin said that racism affected him from the first season of the show and his first comic con appearance.
"My very first comic con, some people didn't stand in my line because I was Black," McLaughlin said in the video, which has been viewed over 415,000 times. "Some people told me like, "Oh, I didn't want to be in line because you were mean to Eleven.' Even now, some people don't follow me, or don't support me, because I'm Black."
—L ☾ met timothée (@spideychaIamet) September 25, 2022
McLaughlin joined "Stranger Things" during its first season, which premiered on Netflix in 2016 when he was 14 years old. In the show, he plays Lucas Sinclair, a member of the original group of children rounded out by Mike Wheeler (Finn Wolfhard), Dustin Henderson (Gaten Matarazzo), Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), and Will Byers (Noah Schnapp), all of whom are white.
McLaughlin said that racism affected him "a lot" as a child, and he wondered why he had the least amount of social-media followers out of his castmates and wasn't as favored by the fandom despite the fact that he had been on "the same show as everybody from season one."
"My parents had to be like, 'It's a sad truth, but it's because you're the Black child on the show,'" McLaughlin said. "Wow, that's crazy. Because I was born with this beautiful chocolate skin, I'm not loved."
Other Black actors have been subject to racist treatment by fans of the franchises that they star in. John Boyega, who played Finn in the latest "Star Wars" trilogy, has spoken repeatedly in the past about the racism that he experienced from fans of the franchise, urging studios to protect their actors against "racial backlash" in a 2020 interview with Variety.
In May, "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" author Rick Riordan posted a statement decrying racist responses to the casting of 13-year-old Leah Sava Jeffires, a Black actor, as Annabeth Chase in the Disney+ series adaptation of his novel.
McLaughlin said that ultimately, he wanted to use his platform as an actor to "spread positivity and love."
"I do not give hate back to people that give hate to me," he said.
Read the original article on Insider