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“Stranger Things” Actor Caleb McLaughlin Opens Up About Experiences With Fandom and Racism

Stranger Things might be one of Netflix's biggest hits, but being part of a popular show comes with its drawbacks. In fact, one of the show's stars is talking about the racism he's faced after being catapulted into the public eye. Speaking at the Heroes Comic Con Belgium recently, Caleb McLaughlin opened up about the important topic. And we should all be applaud him for speaking up.

A copy of the interview was shared on the @etalkctv TikTok page from the conference that happened in late September. "Caleb McLaughlin opens up about the racism he's faced from fans," the video's text overlay reads. 

"My very first Comic Con some people didn't stand in my line because I was Black," he explained in the clip. "Some people told me like 'Oh, I didn't want to be in line because you were mean to Eleven,'" he continued. "Even now, some people don't like me or support me because I'm Black," he added. As if that wasn't heartbreaking enough, McLaughlin said he's noticed that he has less followers on Instagram than his white peers, even though he's been part of the main cast since season one. 

The video has since been watched over 400,000 times. "This is so disheartening, he’s talented actor, more so a wonderful person. This world is sad," one commenter wrote in the comments section. "'You were mean to Eleven' it’s almost like…the actor is not the character?? And everyone suddenly COMPLETELY understood that when it was billy’s actor," @mihakho pointed out. "This makes me so freaking upset, people really make up so many excuses to hate his character when it’s obvious why. Caleb is amazing and should have some more recognition," @tessisamesswoo chimed in.

Thankfully, McLaughlin isn't letting the hate get to him. "I was born with this beautiful chocolate skin," he said later in the interview. "I want to spread positivity and love because I do not give hate back to people," he added.