Caleb McLaughlin, who played Lucas on Stranger Things, has made some claims that he’s not as popular as his white co-stars because of his skin color. Caleb made the claims at Heroes Comic Con Belgium on Sunday:
“My very first Comic Con, some people didn’t stand in my line because I was Black. Some people told me, like, ‘Oh, I didn’t wanna 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.”
He talks about a perception issue, that his character was unkind to fellow character Eleven, which is a different issue to lack of engagement due to skin color but then seems to claim that is the root cause? Not his character?
This line of thought also seems to carry through to a his comparison of social media engagement. He claims racism among Stranger Things fans explains why he has less followers on his social media accounts compared to his co-stars.
He has 15.4 million Instagram followers but Gaten Matarazzo (Dustin) has 18.7 million followers, Finn Wolfhard (Mike) has 26.3 million, Noah Schnapp (Will) has 27.6 million, Sadie Sink (Maxine) has 24.9 million and Millie Bobby Brown has 58.5 million.
Applying Caleb’s logic across this group would mean Millie Bobby Brown’s followers are misandrists because she has over double the amount of followers as her male co-stars Perhaps they are also Gingerphobes because Sadie Sink has less than half Brown’s numbers?
If attempting to view the world through this lens then Noah’s followers could be classed as heterophobes because his character was gay and as a result he has more followers than his co-stars who played straight characters? It’s a zero sum game where the bigotry never ends.
Expanding on his feelings, he continued:
“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. 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.”
Caleb has a net worth of over $5m at the age of just 20 and a new contract in season 3 of Stranger Things earned him $250,000 per episode so oppression and victim status are hard to reconcile. Perhaps, with statements like those he attributed to his parents, above, he’s just been raised to carry their prejudices forward, assuming the chip on their shoulder for himself?
Is it really a good look to accuse fans of your show of being racist?