Caleb McLaughlin stars in one of Netflix’s biggest shows, but his experience hasn’t always been positive. At a recent Heroes Comic Con Belgium appearance, the Stranger Things star recalled encountering racism from fans of the beloved series.

“It definitely took a toll on me as a younger kid,” McLaughlin said. “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.’ 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 recalled feeling less popular than his Stranger Things co-stars despite being a main character on the show, and his parents having to explain that it was because he was the series’ only Black character. “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.” Watch McLaughlin’s remarks below.


McLaughlin stopped by Consequence’s Kyle Meredith With… podcast last year to discuss Stranger Things and his budding music career. Since then, the show has returned with its twopart Season 4.