During a recent Q&A session held at Belgium's Heroes Comic Con, the 20-year-old actor discussed the racism he's dealt with from show viewers ever since the first season premiered back in 2016.
“It affected me when I was a kid,” McLaughlin — who plays Lucas Sinclair — told the audience before recalling his "very first Comic Con" at 14, where "some people didn’t stand in my line because I was Black" and tried to hide their racism with excuses about not liking his character.
"Some people told me that, ‘Oh I didn’t want to be in your line because you were mean to [Millie Bobby Brown's] Eleven,'" he continued. McLaughlin then went on to reveal that his meet-and-greet lines still tend to be shorter than his co-stars' and that "even now, people don’t follow me or support me because I’m Black, you know.”
Not only that, but the actor also explained that fans from other countries are sometimes the most overtly racist, adding that "you’ll feel the racism, you feel the bigotry" a lot more overseas.
"Sometimes it’s hard to talk about that and for people to understand," he continued. "But, when I was younger it definitely affected me a lot."
McLaughlin later ferried the audience into a "deep conversation" about his experience by reflecting on the many questions he had as a young kid dealing with this kind of hatred, saying that he would ask himself things like why he was "the least favorite" and why he didn't have as many followers, despite being "on the same show as everybody from season one."
"But then my parents had to be like, ‘You know, it’s a sad truth, but it’s because you’re the Black child in the show,'" McLaughlin said. "That's crazy, because I was born with this beautiful chocolate skin, I’m not loved."
Watch McLaughlin talk about his experience below.
here's caleb talking about how he had to deal with racism just because he was "the black kid who was mean to eleven in season 1" and felt like it was important to share his thoughts on that :) #StrangerThings #TUDUM #CalebMcLaughlin @HComicConBE pic.twitter.com/JZoXS9aaBW— L ☾ met timothée (@spideychaIamet) September 25, 2022
Photo via Getty / Paras Griffin
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