Caleb McLaughlin Addresses Racism in the ‘Stranger Things’ Fandom: ‘Why Am I the Least Favorite?’
Caleb McLaughlin, known for playing Lucas Sinclair in the Netflix mega-hit Stranger Things, addressed the racism he has faced from the fandom during Heroes Comic Con Belgium on Sunday.
The event took place on September 25, during which McLaughlin spoke on stage at a panel about his experience starring in the viral show.
"My very first Comic Con, some people didn't stand in my line because I was Black," he said. "Some people told me, like, 'Oh, I didn't wanna be in line because you were mean to Eleven.'"
He continued, "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 said. He also noted that "it's hard to talk about" and hard for "people to understand."
McLaughlin said that as a young actor amongst a mostly-white cast, it really affected him "a lot."
"Why [do I have] the least amount of followers? I'm on the same show as everybody from season one," he said of how the show exploded after its premiere.
McLaughlin's parents then 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 amid applause from the audience.
Watch the video, below:
Fans were quick to chime in online about McLaughlin's powerful words, including one who called the situation and the culture of toxic fandom in general "deeply disturbing."
Another called out an alleged incident where the Stranger Things fandom outed someone to their homophobic parents over a disagreement about star Finn Wolfhard, calling it "too far."
The original poster of the video added that when he met McLaughlin during the event's meet and greet, he told him how inspiring he was and he appeared very happy with the support.
He also said that McLaughlin was "so sweet" and "so chill" and said that he "hated the 'Chrissy Wake Up' song."
Another fan said, "It's not enough to say 'oh he deserves better' RESPECT his work and his persona."
Read more reactions to the discussion, below:
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