‘Stranger Things’ star Caleb McLaughlin reflects on experiencing racism from fans: “It definitely took a toll”

"Even now, some people don’t follow me or don’t support me because I’m Black"

Stranger Things star Caleb McLaughlin has opened up about the racism he has experienced from some fans of the show.

READ MORE: Here’s what we know about Stranger Things season five

The actor, who plays Lucas Sinclair in the hit Netflix series, recently reflected on his very first Comic Con appearance, explaining how he received a different reception to his fellow co-stars due to the colour of his skin.


“It definitely took a toll on me as a younger kid,” McLaughlin said during a recent appearance at the Heroes Comic-Con Belgium convention.

“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.’”

He continued: “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.”

McLaughlin recalled feeling less popular than his Stranger Things co-stars, despite being a main character on the show. He said his parents had to explain to him that it was because he was the series’ only Black character.

“Because I was born with this beautiful chocolate skin, I’m not loved,” he said. “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.”


Elsewhere, the show’s creators Matt and Ross Duffer recently suggested that season five may not feature any new characters.

Speaking to IndieWire, Ross Duffer said: “Whenever we introduce a new character, we want to make sure that they’re going to be an integral part of the narrative. But every time we do that, we’re nervous because you go, ‘We’ve got a great cast of characters here and actors, and any moment we’re spending with a new character, we’re taking time away from one of the other actors.’ So we’re just very, very careful about who we’re introducing.”

Matt added: “I just like shaking it up, so we shake it up by changing the plot or adding in a new monster. We’re doing our best to resist [adding new characters] for season five. We’re trying not to do that so we can focus on the OG characters, I guess.”