'Stranger Things' Star Caleb McLaughlin Exposed The Fandom's Racism

Sarah Kester
Caleb posing
instagram | @therealcalebmclaughlin

Ever since the first season of Stranger Things came out, the world was captivated by the group of adorable, wide-eyed kids who were getting their first lick of fame. 

The show, created by the Duffer Brothers, follows a group of kids in the town of Hawkins who discover another world filled with monsters bleeding into its own.

Soon, the show launched the careers of several of its cast.

Stranger Things' cast in Season One
TVLine | Netflix

Millie Bobby Brown (who plays Eleven) went on to star in Netflix’s Enola Holmes and created her own skincare line; Sadie Sink (who plays Max) got to star in a Taylor Swift video and alongside Brendan Fraser in The Whale; and Gaten Matarazzo (who plays Dustin) recently starred in the film, Honor Society

This doesn’t even count David Hopper (Jim) who got a starring role in 'Hellboy.'

Jim Hopper

Or Winona Ryder (Joyce) who had her once-failing career reignited by the show. To add to their popularity, most of the main cast has millions of followers. 

But this all begs the question: what about Caleb? 

The actor has been a part of the main cast since Season One, playing Lucas. His character was initially wary of Eleven joining their group of friends. In the end, he accepted Eleven and her psychokinetic abilities into their party. 

Then, in Season Two, his character got an adorable character arc when Sadie (Max) joined the cast.

Caleb and Sadie
instagram | @therealcalebmclaughlin

Their characters had a sweet romance that was highlighted many times in Season Four when the main villain, Vecna, targeted her and even left her in a coma.

With all this being said, why isn’t Caleb landing the same kind of major roles as his peers?

Caleb and Sadie dancing

And why doesn’t he have a huge following on Instagram like the rest of them? 

It appears that there’s been a dark shadow lurking over the show.

And no, it’s not the shadow monster.

Caleb posing
instagram | @therealcalebmclaughlin

It’s the racism that far too many people have been blind to — and it’s just been exposed by Caleb. The 20-year-old recently opened up about his experience during an appearance at Heroes Comic Con in Belgium. 

There, he said that the treatment he got compared to his peers — Noah, Finn, Eaten, and Millie — “affected” him “a lot” when he was younger. 

Lucus and Dustin fighting
Giphy | Stranger Things

“My very first Comic-Con, some people didn’t stand in my line because I was Black,” Caleb explained.

“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.”

Caleb on a boat
instagram | @therealcalebmclaughlin

“Sometimes overseas, you’ll feel the racism,” he continued. “You’ll feel the bigotry, and sometimes it’s hard to talk about and for people to understand.”

He said that this affected him a lot when he was younger. 

“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,’” Caleb added.

Caleb taking a selfie in his car
instagram | @therealcalebmclaughlin

He also recalled the moment his parents told him that the reason he is “the least favorite” and had the least followers on Instagram is because he's the “Black child” on the show.

As of now, Millie has 58.5 million, Noah has 27.6 million, Gaten has 18.7 million followers, and Finn (Mike) has 26.3 million.

Millie blowing a kiss
Giphy | E!

Even Sadie who joined the show a season later has 24.9 million. In comparison, Caleb has 15.4 million. 

“My parents had to be like: ‘It’s a sad truth, but it’s because you’re the Black child on the show,’” Caleb remembered.

“Wow, that’s crazy. Because I was born with this beautiful chocolate skin I’m not loved?” Ugh, our heart hurts for him.

Instead of fighting hate with hate, Caleb has taken the high road.

Lucas Sinclair, Stranger THings
Netflix | Netflix

"That’s why, with my platform, I’m going to spread positivity and love because I’m not giving hate back to people who are giving hate to me," he said.

Since sharing his experience, viewers have been quick to support the actor.

"This is why i will always ride for the black characters in any show. the way these predominantly white fan bases be acting towards them is not discussed enough," one tweeted.

“One of the reasons I kinda fell out of Stranger Things was how people continue to treat Caleb," another wrote.

Many people tweeted out examples of Billy Hargrove, one of the show's villains, getting lots of love from fans despite targeting Lucus because he's Black.

"It's sickening. He's a talented actor and people don't give the same love as the do his white co-stars. It's exhausting.”