Caleb McLaughlin Addresses Racism in the ‘Stranger Things’ Fandom: ‘Why Do I Have the Least Followers?’
Caleb McLaughlin, known for playing Lucas Sinclair on the Netflix mega-hit Stranger Things, addressed the racism he has faced from the fandom during Heroes Comic Con Belgium on Sunday (Sept. 25).
During the event, McLaughlin spoke on stage at a panel about his experience starring in the smash series.
"My very first Comic Con, some people didn't stand in my line because I was Black. Some people told me, like, 'Oh, I didn't wanna be in line because you were mean to Eleven,'" he shared. "Even now, some people don't follow me or don't support me because I'm Black."
Given that the event took place in Belgium, he also discussed how he's experienced racism overseas. "Sometimes overseas, like, you feel the racism, you feel the bigotry," he continued, noting "it's hard to talk about" and hard for "people to understand."
McLaughlin said that as a young actor among a mostly white cast, it has affected him "a lot."
"Why [do I have] the least amount of followers? I'm on the same show as everybody from Season 1," he said of how the show exploded after its premiere, adding his parents told him "the sad truth" about being the only "Black child on the show."
"But that's why with my platform I wanna spread positivity and love because I do not give hate back to people that give hate to me," he concluded to audience applause.
Fans were quick to chime in online about McLaughlin's powerful words, including someone who called the situation and the culture of toxic fandom in general "deeply disturbing."
Another fan called out an alleged incident in which Stranger Things fans outed someone to their homophobic parents due to a disagreement about star Finn Wolfhard, calling it "too far."
The fan who posted the original video added that when they met McLaughlin during the event's meet and greet, they told him how inspiring he was and he appeared very happy with the support.
They added that McLaughlin was "so sweet" and "so chill" and that he "hated the 'Chrissy Wake Up' song."
Check out more reactions to the discussion, below: