Actor Caleb McLaughlin recently talked about how much racism he faces in Hollywood as a black actor. The star who plays Lucas on “Stranger Things” noted that he dealt with discrimination from the show’s fans as far back as its first season.
McLaughlin started his acting career on Broadway as the Young Simba for the “Lion King” musical. After several other roles, he landed his spot on the “Stranger Things” lead cast. The role was the perfect big break for McLaughlin’s acting career.
The star recently appeared at the 2022 “Heroes Comic Con” and spoke about his experiences, saying he used to wonder why he was the least favorite of the show’s lead cast. McLaughlin is one of many black actors who have dealt with racism in the industry.
Keep reading to find out more.
Caleb McLaughlin Recalls Sad Racist Experiences
McLaughlin opened up about his experience with racism during an appearance in Brussels for the “Heroes Comic Con” on September 25th. During the interview, he revealed that it affected him a lot as a young boy. “It definitely took a toll on me as a younger kid,” he said.
The topic also brought back sad memories, as the star recalled his battle with racism at his first Comic-Con. He noted that other kids stayed away from him because of his skin color. He said, “My very first Comic-Con, some people wouldn’t stand in my line because I was Black.”
here's caleb talking about how he had to deal with racism just because he was "the black kid who was mean to eleven in season 1" and felt like it was important to share his thoughts on that 🙂 #StrangerThings #TUDUM #CalebMcLaughlin @HComicConBE pic.twitter.com/JZoXS9aaBW
— L ☾ met timothée (@spideychaIamet) September 25, 2022
While some kids used his role on the show as an excuse for their racism, he didn’t believe them. “Some people told me ‘Oh, I didn’t want to be in your line because you were mean to Eleven (played by Millie Bobby Brown).'” McLaughlin also revealed that he still struggled with discrimination as a grown-up.
He said, “Even now some people don’t follow me or don’t support me because I’m Black.” McLaughlin also shared that he still has trauma from dealing with racism as a child actor. He also pointed out that he gets the least support from fans of the show.
‘Why Am I The Least Favorite?’
The now 20-year-old, who started on the show at 14, revealed that his younger self wondered why he was “the least favorite” of the main cast. He also noticed at the time that he had the least number of Instagram followers after being on the show as long as the other kids.
McLaughlin asked, “Why am I the least favorite, the least amount of followers? I’m on the same show as everyone else from season one.” The star currently has over 15 million followers, behind the other kids, Millie Bobby Brown, Noah Schnapp, Finn Wolfhard, and Gaten Matarazzo. They have 58.5 million, 27.6 million, 26.3 million, and 18.7 million followers, respectively.
While he deals with racism in Hollywood from time to time, his parents have supported him throughout his career. He also revealed that they initially warned him of the discrimination when he started filming the show’s first season.
Caleb McLaughlin’s Parents Told Him The ‘Sad Truth’
After telling his parents about discrimination by the show’s fans, it surprised him when they explained that it was racism. “My parents had to be like, “it’s a sad truth, but it’s because you’re the Black child on the show,'” McLaughlin said. “And I was like, ‘Wow, that’s crazy.'”
He then made a decision to block out the negativity and focus on his career. However, the actor kept wondering why the color of his skin mattered to fans. “Because I was born with this beautiful chocolate skin, I’m not loved,” he said.
The star plans to keep spreading love and positivity “with my platform” despite the racism and discrimination. McLaughlin said, “I do not give hate back to people that give hate to me.”
Black Actors Have Been Subject To Racist Fans Lately
McLaughlin isn’t the only actor affected by racism in Hollywood. Some other black actors were recently victims of racist comments from fans after announcing their new roles. The first trailer for the live-action film “The Little Mermaid” quickly went viral upon its release.
However, it received racist backlash for starring a “black little mermaid.” The trailer, which revealed singer Halle Bailey as Ariel, also gathered over 1.5 million dislikes on YouTube. Following this, fans took to the comments section to call out the racism and comment on what they “liked” about the teaser.
Actor Steve Toussaint was also a victim of racist comments after “House Of The Dragon” starred him as The Sea Snake, Lord Corlys Velaryon. In a recent interview with Men’s Health, he called out racist viewers, saying, “They are happy with a dragon flying. They’re happy with white hair and violet-colored eyes, but a rich Black guy? That’s beyond the pale.”