Stranger Things star Noah Schnapp’s controversies explained

Daisy Phillipson
Noah Schnapp as Will in Stranger Things

There have been ongoing calls on Netflix to remove Noah Schnapp from Stranger Things Season 5 of late — to keep you up to date, here are all of the controversies surrounding the actor, from the reason behind his recent cancellation to past backlashes.

Ever since his turn as Will Byers in the Netflix juggernaut that is Stranger Things, Noah Schnapp has become a household name. He was just 10 years old when filming began for Season 1, spending his succeeding teenage years under the spotlight just like the rest of the young cast. 

Schnapp has had some major highs throughout his career, including the LGBTQ+ representation of his on-screen character, which allowed him to come to terms with his own sexuality. After confirming Will is gay, Schnapp himself came out in a TikTok video earlier this year, saying: “I guess I’m more similar to Will than I thought.”

But despite his young age, the Stranger Things star has also run into controversy over the years, with his most recent currently unfolding in the news. Warning: some may find this content distressing.

Stranger Things star Noah Schnapp’s controversies explained

Noah Schnapp has faced a number of cancellation calls, from a racial slur scandal to a recent clip relating to the Israel-Hamas war. 

Below, you can find a rundown of all of the controversies surrounding the Stranger Things star, starting with the latest.

Noah Schnapp faces backlash amid Israel-Hamas conflict 

Noah Schnapp faced severe backlash online after an Instagram Story was shared in which he’s seen laughing with friends in a coffee shop as they pass around stickers which say “Zionism is sexy” and “Hamas is Isis”.

The clip arose amid the 2023 humanitarian crisis in Gaza, as Israel intensifies its bombing of the overwhelmed area following the Palestinian Islamist militant group Hamas’ attack in October 2023. Gaza faces shortages of fuel, food, medication, water, and medical supplies, leaving thousands of people who manage to survive the bombings at risk of starvation.

According to AP, approximately 1,200 people have died on the Israeli side, a majority of which were civilians killed in the initial Hamas attack. Meanwhile, as of January 15, “Palestinian authorities said the death toll in the enclave passed 24,000.”

Last October, Schnapp — who is of both Russian and Moroccan Jewish descent — took to Instagram to share a lengthy statement on the ongoing conflict in which he criticized those “choosing sides.” He added: “You either stand with Israel or you stand with terrorism. It shouldn’t be a difficult choice. Shame on you.”

Following this, the Instagram Story in which he’s seen with the “Zionism is sexy” stickers started doing the rounds online and causing outrage. Commenting under the clip on X/Twitter, one wrote: “Not even surprised anymore, he just wants his career to be over at this point…”

“Seeing these rich people with huge smiles on their faces as they support a genocide from the comfort of a cute little coffee shop is disgusting,” said another, while a third added: “Petition to have him removed from Stranger Things when??”

One person compared his response to the killing of Israelis with Palestinians, sharing his lengthy statement as the former and the Instagram Story as the latter. 

Others are calling for the actor and/or Stranger Things Season 5 to be cancelled, with one asking: “How come Noah Schnapp is still not cancelled? I’m not a fan of cancel culture but my point is if that was for example Millie Bobby Brown stating ‘zionism is sexy’ she would be so over like sooooo over. And he seems comfortable like never before.”

Sharing the clip, another said: “Why is that mofo not cancelled?? Palestinians need to be careful with their words cause they are losing jobs but then there’s a mofo like Noah Schnapp. UNBELIEVABLE!!!”

A third instructed people to “go onto Stranger Things’ Instagram page and comment that you plan to boycott unless they get rid of Noah Schnapp. With enough backlash, they will seriously have to reconsider things.”

After months of this, Schnapp finally broke his silence on January 16. Taking to TikTok, he said: “I just wanted to come on here super briefly just to discuss everything that’s been going on online. I feel like my thoughts and beliefs have been so far misconstrued from anything even close to what I believe.”

The actor added: “I only want peace and safety and security for all innocent people affected by this conflict. I’ve had many open discussions with friends from Palestinian background, and I think those are very important conversations to have. And I’ve learned a lot… We are all human and we’re all the same and we should all love each other for that and support each other and stand together – and stand together for humanity and for peace.”

However, Stranger Things fans aren’t buying it, with many accusing him of performing “damage control.” “Didn’t his original post say like if you’re a ‘both sides’ person then you’re soulless or something? Cut to him basically saying peace in the Middle East hey,” wrote one, while another said, “Gotta love the PR apology and aha moment that comes when they say that check is gonna stop.”

Noah Schnapp’s Doja Cat beef

In 2022, Noah Schnapp was involved in a social media spat with singer Doja Cat after she reached out to him asking to be put in touch with Stranger Things Season 4 breakout star Joseph Quinn, who played Eddie Munson. Schnapp shared the private messages on his social media, which Doja didn’t take too well. 

It all started last summer, when Doja DM’ed Schnapp saying: “Noah can u tell Joseph to hmu… wait no, does he have a gf?” Schnapp playfully replied: “LMAOO slide into his DMs,” before showing her how to contact him. 

In a now-deleted TikTok, Schnapp shared the private exchange, and in July, Doja took to a live stream to respond. “First let’s be chill about it,” she said. “To be fair, this is like a kid. Noah is like, I don’t know how old he is, but he’s not even over — there’s no way he’s over like 21.”

She continued: “When you’re that young, you make mistakes. You do dumb sh*t… you’re supposed to do stuff like that so that you know not to do it in the future. I did my share of f*ck-ups so that I don’t f*ck-up again.”

But the singer pointed out that sharing a private conversation is “so unbelievably socially unaware and whack… that’s like borderline snake sh*t, that’s like weasel sh*t.”

“And I’m not saying that encapsulates his entire personality. Maybe he is, like, a whole snake. But I didn’t see him that way,” she added. “I made an assumption that he was gonna be chill about it, and he went and shared information that I didn’t feel comfortable with him sharing.”

At the time, opinion was divided over who was “right” or “wrong” in the situation. Although many people defended Doja and said it was wrong of Schnapp to share the private information, others felt that she shouldn’t have criticized him due to his young age.

However, in light of the recent Israel-Hamas controversy, many are bringing up the beef once more and siding with Doja. Sharing the “Zionism is sexy” post, one wrote on X/Twitter: “Doja Cat warned us about Noah Schnapp.” Another shared his statement, adding: “Doja cat was right when she called him a borderline snake/weasel.”

Noah Schnapp accused of using racial slur in clip

In 2020, Schnapp faced backlash after a resurfaced clip of him singing along to ‘Freaky Friday’ by Lil Dicky featuring Chris Brown did the rounds online, with viewers accusing him of using the n-word. 

The clip caused outrage, leading to the hashtag #NoahSchnappIsOverParty on X/Twitter. Taking to Instagram at the time, the Stranger Things star issued an apology, writing: “Hi guys. Recently a video from last summer has gotten out of me dancing and singing a song while singing the word ‘neighbor’ over the n-word. 

“I would truly never say the n-word and I’m not the type of person. I genuinely have never used that word in my life. Using the word ‘neighbor’ in that song was just something my camp friends and I did. I hope you all understand I could never even think about doing that.

“My friends also would never post a video, or support me, if I was saying that slur without hesitation. I apologize for using a replacement word. It is not my place to use one and I should of kept my mouth shut. I understand why it is found offensive and I am so sorry.”

Although the online community moved past the controversy, the clip has been circulating once more amid the recent criticism.

For more off-screen dramas, check out our guides to Kevin Costner’s feud with Taylor Sheridan, Matt Damon & Jimmy Kimmel’s feud, and find out whether the Dune 2 cast like each other.

About The Author

Daisy is a Senior TV and Movies Writer at Dexerto. She's a lover of all things macabre, whether that be horror, crime, psychological thrillers or all of the above. After graduating with a Masters in Magazine Journalism, she's gone on to write for Digital Spy, LADbible and Little White Lies. You can contact her on