More Black Actors Speak Out About Facing Racist Online Abuse

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More actors are opening up about the racism they face from fans and online, calling into question what Hollywood can do to better protect its Black talent.

Sophia Wilson, a Black cast member on Freeform’s The Come Up, said she’s been flooded with racist messages online, including “really weird and creepy emails” since the show debuted last month, per NBC News.

“It’s been pretty hard to navigate,” Wilson said. “I knew it was just going to get amplified, the more people that see me and hear me on their screens.”

Similarly to Wilson, Stranger Things star Caleb McLaughlin spoke out last week about facing racism from fans.

McLaughlin shared at Comic-Con in Belgium that fans didn’t stand in his line for cast meet-and-greets at previous conventions because he was Black.

“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,” McLaughlin said. “Sometimes it’s hard to talk about and for people to understand, but when I was younger it definitely affected me a lot.”

In August, Steve Toussaint, who stars in House of the Dragon, said his casting in the Game of Thrones prequel was “very hard for people to swallow.”

“[Fans] are happy with a dragon flying. They’re happy with white hair and violet-colored eyes, but a rich Black guy? That’s beyond the pale,” Toussaint said.

Mike Muse, a pop culture expert and radio show host, told NBC News that Hollywood needs to better support young Black actors facing racist abuse.

“It’s unfortunate that someone that talented and gifted has to feel their artistry doesn’t go before their identity,” Muse said. “It’s up to studio executives and producers and media executives to make sure they create safe spaces for individuals who are marginalized and are on the receiving end of racism and bigotry and to surround them with as many resources as possible.”

Wilson’s co-star Ebon Gore said she also faced racist remarks online.

Gore said she’s proud of McLaughlin for speaking out about racism in the entertainment industry.

“It’s about time we direct these questions to Hollywood,” she said. “When are things going to change? Or when are more people going to speak out about it?”

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