‘Stranger Things’ Actor Caleb McLaughlin Says He’s the Fans’ Least Favorite Character Because He’s Black

At this year’s Heroes Comic Con in Belgium, Stranger Things star Caleb McLaughlin, the show’s only Black child, opened up about his experiences with racism from the public.

The Netflix hit premiered in 2016 with a cast mostly between the ages of 10 and 14. The supernatural series follows the kids in the fictional 1980s town of Hawkins, Indiana. Along with McLaughlin, the young cast includes Noah Schnapp, Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo, and Millie Bobby Brown.

According to BuzzFeed, the now 20-year-old McLaughlin who plays Lucas Sinclair, shared his experience at the convention on the treatment he receives in comparison to his castmates. McLaughlin who started the role at 14 years old, expressed that he doesn’t seem to receive the same amount of support from the show’s viewers and fans.

“When I was younger, it definitely affected me a lot because—this is a deep conversation right now—you’re like: ‘Why am I the least favorite? The least amount of followers? I’m on the same show as everybody from Season 1,’” the actor said.

He shared a moment when his parents told him that he was “the least favorite” and had fewer followers because he is the “Black child” on the show.

“My very first Comic-Con, some people didn’t stand in my line because I was Black,” McLaughlin explained during the live Q&A. “Some people told me: ‘Oh, I didn’t want to be in 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’ll feel the racism,” he added. “You’ll feel the bigotry, and sometimes it’s hard to talk about and for people to understand.”

“My parents had to be like: ‘It’s a sad truth, but it’s because you’re the Black child on the show,’” Caleb told the outet. “Wow, that’s crazy. Because I was born with this beautiful chocolate skin I’m not loved?”

McLaughlin shared his plans to utilize his platform to spread positivity and love: “I’m not giving hate back to people who are giving hate to me.”

As of September 2022, Caleb has the least number of Instagram followers compared to his costars, some having over 10 million more on than the Black actor, who currently has 15.4 million.