Caleb McLaughlin has shared how racism from fans of Stranger Things has affected him.
The actor, 20, from New York, plays Lucas Sinclair in the hit Netflix sci-fi alongside fellow original cast members Millie Bobby Brown, Sadie Sink and Noah Schnapp.
He attended Heroes Comic Con Belgium at the weekend, where he spoke about having suffered racism from fans right from the beginning of the series in 2016.
Caleb told the audience that he first started noticing the discrimination when he had the fewest social media followers of all the cast members and the shortest meet-and-greet lines
He said: “It definitely took a toll on me as a younger kid. My very first Comic-con, some people didn’t stand in my line because I was 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.”
Caleb made his debut as Lucas Sinclair at the age of 14, but has also appeared on Broadway shows including the Lion King from 2012-2014.
He went on to comment on the support he has received from his parents and his goal to change toxic behaviours, saying: “With my platform - I want to spread positivity and love because I do not give hate back to people who give hate to me.”
Caleb has notably fewer followers than his co-stars on Instagram, with 15.4 million followers compared to Millie Bobby Brown’s 58.8 million or Finn Wolfhard who has 26.3 million.
Caleb’s revelation comes after other Hollywood stars spoke openly about their experiences of racism from fans of hit shows.
Halle Bailey, who plays Ariel in the upcoming Disney live action movie The Little Mermaid, has received comments from trolls online, while Star Wars has condemned the disgusting behaviour of fans after Obi Wan Kenobi’s Moses Ingram received discriminatory messages in May.
Upon Moses’ franchise debut, the star revealed she had received hundreds of DMs calling her a “diversity hire”.
The official Star Wars Twitter account responded: “We are proud to welcome Moses Ingram to the Star Wars family and are excited for Reva’s story to unfold. If anyone intends to make her feel in any way unwelcome, we have only one thing to say: we resist.”
The tweet continued telling the fans that out of the 20 million species in the Star Wars galaxy, to not choose to be “a racist.”