Caleb McLaughlin, the teenage actor who has played Lucas Sinclair from the very first series of Stranger Things, has opened up about his experience of fan racism. At a Comic Con event last week, he compared the reception of his character by fans to that of his co-stars.
Appearing at a Comic-Con event in Belgium. McLaughlin said: “It 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. Some people told me, ‘Oh I didn’t want to be in your line because you were mean to Eleven.’”
According to the actor, the abuses and microaggressions continue to his day: “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.”
McLaughlin also recalled feeling much less popular than the other members of the Stranger Things cast. When he bought up the matter with his parents, they were forced to explain that it was because he was the only Black character in the series. “Because I was born with this beautiful chocolate skin, I’m not loved,” he said. “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.”
Stranger Things isn’t the only sci-fi series suffering from a fandom problem. Ewan McGregor, who recently reprised his titular role for the new Obi-Wan Kenobi series, responded to the “sickening” racist abuse suffered by so-star Moses Ingram.
Sharing a video posted to the Star Wars social media accounts, McGregor said: “I just want to say as the leading actor in the series, as the executive producer on the series, that we stand with Moses. “We love Moses, and if you’re sending her bullying messages, you’re no Star Wars fan in my mind.”