His truth. Stranger ThingsStar Caleb McLaughlin got candid about his experience in Hollywood — including the racism he’s faced since stepping into the spotlight.
“It definitely took a toll on me as a younger kid. My very first Comic-Con, some people wouldn’t stand in my line because I was Black,” McLaughlin, 20, revealed during the Heroes Comic ConSunday, September 25, in Brussels. “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, you feel the racism and the bigotry when you travel overseas. Sometimes it’s hard to talk about and for people to understand, but when I was younger it definitely affected me a lot.”
The New York native, who has portrayed Lucas Sinclair on the Netflix hit since its inception in 2016, questioned why he was perpetually the “least favorite” actor from the series — which also stars Millie Bobby Brown, Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo, Noah Schnapp and more — and wondered why he receives less support on social media.
“Why am I the least favorite?” the Concrete CowboySunday, actor was asked. “Why [do I have]The least amount of followers? I’m on the same show as everyone else from season 1.’”
The High Flying BirdStar revealed that his parents had to point out possible racism and bigotry that he would face in the business to help him see the connections.
“My parents had to be like, ‘It’s a sad truth, but it’s because you’re the Black child on the show,’” he explained. “And I was like, ‘Wow, that’s crazy.’”
While McLaughlin has a lofty 15.4 million Instagram followers, his costars have significantly more — Brown, 18, lands at 58.5 million, while Schnapp, 17, and Wolfhard, 19, are each hovering just below 30 million.
“Because I was born with this beautiful chocolate skin, I’m not loved,” McLaughin said. “But that’s why with my platform I want to spread positivity and love because I do not give hate back to people that give hate to me.”
Black actors from major TV and film franchises include Steve ToussaintFrom the Game of Thrones spinoff, House of DragonsHistorical experiences have shown that fans of racism have had similar experiences.
The Doctor Who The first Black lead character in the movie, Corys Velaryon (57), is played by the alum.GOT world. “I didn’t realize it was a bigger deal until I was racially abused on social media when it was announced,” the U.K. native told The Hollywood ReporterThe prequel series premiered in August. “Yeah, that s–t happened.”
Toussaint recalls that a social media user had expressed disappointment at his casting in February 2021. “Then someone else referred to me by the N-word,” the Judge Dredd actor added. “There was also a Black American chap who is a big fan of the show who contacted me saying that he gets abuse because he championed me for the part.”
John BoyegaFinn, played by, in the most recent Star WarsTrilogy, however, is also vocal about racism in what should have been a once in a lifetime experience. The Becoming HumanAlum, 30, also shared his belief that racism was one reason his character was sidelined over time.
“What they want you to say is, ‘I enjoyed being a part of it. It was a great experience.’ Nah, nah, nah,” Boyega told British GQSeptember 2020. “I’ll take that deal when it’s a great experience. They were very understanding. Adam Driver, all the nuance to Daisy Ridley. Let’s be honest. Daisy knows this. Adam is aware of this. Everyone knows this. I’m not exposing anything.”