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‘Stranger Things’ Star Caleb McLaughlin Opens Up About Racism From Fans: ‘It Definitely Took a Toll on Me’

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Caleb McLaughlin, who plays Lucas Sinclair on “Stranger Things,” opened up about facing racism as a young actor on Netflix’s hit sci-fi series.

“It definitely took a toll on me as a younger kid,” the actor said at the Heroes Comic Con Belgium convention on Sunday. “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 [Millie Bobby Brown].’”

McLaughlin 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.”

Starting on the series when he was 14, McLaughlin said his younger self would wonder, “Why am I the least favorite? The least amount of followers? I’m on the same show as everybody from Season 1.”

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

Black actors being forced to navigate racism from toxic fans is unfortunately not a new phenomenon. This summer alone, Halle Bailey, who plays Ariel in the upcoming “Little Mermaid” adaptation, and Steve Toussaint, who plays Lord Corlys on “House of the Dragon,” have been hit with racist comments from online trolls. Earlier this month, the cast of “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” condemned the “relentless racism, threats, harassment and abuse” targeted at its POC cast members. Back in May, “Star Wars” released a similar statement after Moses Ingram revealed on social media that she had been flooded with DMs calling her the N-word and a “diversity hire.”

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Source: Variety

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