Black actors say not enough is being done to protect them from racist abuse online


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By Tat Bellamy-Walker, NBC News

Sophia Wilson of “The Come Up” has described racist interactions with fans (Sophie Hur / Freeform)

Sophia Wilson, a Black cast member on the Freeform show “The Come Up,” a docu-reality series about six Generation Z creatives navigating their careers in New York City, says she has received a wave of racist messaging online, including “really weird and creepy emails” since the show premiered last month. 

While Wilson said she ignores the comments, it’s been taking a toll on her mental health. 

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

Like Wilson, 22, other Black creatives in Hollywood have said that their newfound stardom has exposed them to a flood of racist harassment and abuse online. “Stranger Things” star Caleb McLaughlin, who plays Lucas Sinclair, opened up at Comic Con in Belgium last week about facing racism from fans. At earlier conventions, McLaughlin said some fans didn’t stand in his line for the cast meet-and-greet because he was Black. Later, McLaughlin’s parents told the young actor, “It’s a sad truth but it’s because you’re the Black child on the show.” 

Read about these experiences.

Fans also push back when characters are played by Black actors.

More Black culture news here.

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