Caleb McLaughlin has been part of Stranger Things since season 1. He is one of five original main characters alongside co-stars Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo, Noah Schnapp and Millie Bobby Brown. Despite his prominent role on the show, he once revealed how he faced racism from Stranger Things fans.
During the Heroes Comic Con Belgium convention, Caleb talked about his experience as a black actor in the series. “It definitely took a toll on me as a younger kid. My very first Comic-Con, 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 because you were mean to Eleven.'”
The actor also talked about being the least favourite even though he was on the same show as everybody. “Even now, some people don’t follow me or don’t support me because I’m Black. 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.”
“When I was younger, it definitely affected me a lot because — this is a deep conversation right now — you’re like: ‘Why am I the least favorite? The least amount of followers? I’m on the same show as everybody from Season 1,’” Caleb said.
Caleb McLaughlin has the least amount of Instagram followers among the Stranger Things kids. Millie Bobby Brown leads the pack with a massive 63 million followers, which is not surprising given her impressive career. Noah Schnapp, Finn Wolfhard, and Sadie Sink each have over 20 million followers, while Gaten boasts 17 million. In contrast, Caleb currently has just 13.9 million followers.
Nonetheless, Caleb is proud of his heritage, “My parents had to be like: ‘It’s a sad truth, but it’s because you’re the Black child on the show.’ Wow, that’s crazy. Because I was born with this beautiful chocolate skin I’m not loved? But that’s why with my platform, I want to spread positivity and love because I do not give hate back to people who give hate to me.”
In the past, Stranger Things has been criticized for its lack of casting diversity. It has also faced accusations of sidelining its black actors. One such critic wrote that Lucas doesn’t get the appreciation he deserves from Stranger Things fans and the show’s writers.
It is true that Caleb McLaughlin gets less attention as compared to his other co-stars. Some fans have the opinion that it could be due to his character being unlikeable. While others acknowledged that racism does exist in Stranger Things fandom.
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