Stranger Things Star Caleb McLaughlin Addresses Racism He's Faced From Fans

"It's because you're the Black child on the show"

Caleb McLaughlin is speaking out about the casual racism he’s received from “Stranger Things” fans over the years.

The 20-year-old actor opened up about his first Comic-Con experience when fans refused to stand in his meet and greet line.

“It definitely took a toll on me as a younger kid,” he shared while speaking at the Heroes Comic Con Belgium convention. “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.'”

“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.”

McLaughlin recalled asking his parents why he wasn’t as popular as his other castmates despite starring on the same show when he was 14, as Lucas Sinclair.

“Why am I the least favorite? Why [do I have] the least amount of followers? I’m on the same show as everybody from season one,” he questioned until his parents sat him down to explain a “sad truth.”

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Caleb currently holds an impressive 15.4 million Instagram followers though he trails behind Millie’s 58.5 million, Noah Schnapp’s 27.6 million and Finn Wolfhard’s 26.3 million. His other co-star Gaten Matarazzo comes close to his follower count but still holds 18.7 million.

“My parents had to be like, ‘It’s a sad truth, but it’s because you’re the Black child on the show,'” he said. “And I was like ‘Wow, that’s crazy.’ Because I was born with this beautiful chocolate skin, I’m not loved.”

Though the racism McLaughlin has faced has been difficult, the young actor refuses to let it affect him.

“That’s why 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.”

Caleb is slated to return for the show’s fifth and final season.

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