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‘Stranger Things’ Star Caleb McLaughlin Calls Out Fan Racism: ‘Why Am I the Least Favorite?’

"You feel the bigotry," McLaughlin said. "Sometimes it's hard to talk about and for people to understand, but when I was younger it definitely affected me a lot."

Caleb McLaughlin, Stranger Things

Caleb McLaughlin in “Stranger Things”

Netflix

Stranger Things” actor Caleb McLaughlin is addressing the racist backlash he endured as a child star during the first season of the viral Netflix series.

McLaughlin has starred as Lucas alongside Finn Wolfhard, Noah Schnapp, and Gaten Matarazzo since Season 1, and as “Stranger Things” approaches its fifth and final season, McLaughlin reflected on how his career has taken a different turn than his co-stars.

“Why am I the least favorite? [Have] the least amount of followers?” McLaughlin said as part of a “deep conversation” during Heroes Comic Con Belgium. “I’m on the same show as everybody from Season 1.”

McLaughlin opened up about how being viewed differently “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,” McLaughlin said. “Some people told me, ‘Oh I didn’t want to be in your line because you were mean to Eleven.’ 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.”

He added, “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. 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.”

McLaughlin previously spoke with IndieWire about fan reactions to the race-based trauma Lucas has endured throughout the show. “I was reading comments recently and I remember people’s theories on part two of Episode 9. People were like, “What trauma has Luke gone through?” And I was looking through everything like, well, his girlfriend’s brother didn’t like him for being Black, also he was being made fun of [for] his skin color in Season 1. People miss those things,” he said.

McLaughlin was 14 years old when “Stranger Things” premiered in 2016. McLaughlin’s comments come on the heels of “Obi-Wan Kenobi” actress Moses Ingram, “House of the Dragon” actor Steve Toussiant, and “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” star Ismael Cruz Cordova addressing racist backlash received by their franchises’ so-called fans.

McLaughlin’s “Stranger Things” co-star Millie Bobby Brown, who plays Eleven on the series, previously revealed she has endured sexist comments and “gross” sexual messages since turning 18.

The Duffer Brothers are currently working on “Stranger Things 5” after another massively successful “Stranger Things” release on Netflix earlier this year.

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