The actor has starred on the Netflix series since season 1.
Stranger Things star Caleb McLaughlin is speaking out about the racism he has faced as the only Black lead on the show. During a conversation at the Heroes Comic-Con Belgium convention, on Sunday, the 20-year-old actor spoke about the effect it had on him at the start of his career.
"It definitely took a toll on me as a younger kid," McLaughlin, who plays Lucas Sinclair on the show, 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."
The actor -- who started the show when he was 14 -- said that he would wonder why he didn’t have as many followers as his white co-stars or why he would be dubbed the “least favorite” during season 1.
A tough conversation with his parents put everything in perspective. "My parents had to be like, 'It's a sad truth, but it's because you're the Black child on the show… Because I was born with this beautiful chocolate skin, I'm not loved," he shared.
"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," he added.
McLaughlin has been a lead on Stranger Things alongside Millie Bobby Brown, Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo and Noah Schnapp since the show first started.
Stranger Things returned earlier this year with the explosive fourth season after a three-year hiatus. The kids of the Hellfire Club are set to return for the Netflix series’ upcoming fifth and final season.