Caleb McLaughlin, one of the stars from Stranger Things, has recently spoken out about the racism he faced as the Netflix series became a hit.
While attending the Heroes Comic Con convention in Belgium, the now 20-year-old shared with fans that he often felt like the odd one out when his cast members rose to fame, following the monumental success of season one.
Main image via @therealcalebmclaughlin.
In fact, he even mentioned that at his first Comic Con convention, he noticed that fans didn't want to stand in his line for a meet and greet because of the way that his character, Lucas Sinclair, treated Eleven (played by Millie Bobby Brown) in the first season.
"It definitely took a toll on me as a younger kid," he told the crowd in Belgium, as per the BBC. "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 but because you were mean to Eleven'."
Despite the four seasons of the show seeing his character, Lucas, become quite close to Eleven, he believes that fans still prefer his cast members and sometimes exclude Caleb from their love for the rest of the cast.
"Even now some people don't follow me or don't support me because I'm Black," he shared, adding, "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."
Joining Stranger Things when he was just 14 years old, McLaughlin recalled feeling lost as to why he was the least favourite amongst the show's fans, noticing that he had less social media followers than the rest of the cast.
"I'm on the same show as everybody from season one," he recalled thinking at the time. But it wasn't until his parents sat him down to tell him the "sad truth", that he realised why he'd been feeling so ostracised.
"My parents had to be like, 'It's a sad truth, but it's because you're the Black child on the show,'" McLaughlin explained, adding, "Because I was born with this beautiful chocolate skin, I'm not loved."
But even though McLaughlin was forced to deal with racism from the show's fanbase, he refused to let the unfair circumstances change his perspective on his success and getting to do what he loves.
"That's why with my platform I want to spread positivity and love," McLaughlin said, "because I do not give hate back to people who give hate to me."
The fifth and final season of Stranger Things will likely be heading to Netflix sometime in 2024. In the meantime, you can bet we'll be rewatching McLaughlin's applause-worthy performance in season four.