Anthony Horowitz, the British Jewish writer tasked with writing “Trigger Mortis,” the next novel in the James Bond saga, might want to look to his main character for charm lessons.
In an interview with the , Horowitz let it be known that he thinks Idris Elba, a fan favorite in the runoff to cast the next Bond, is “probably a bit too ‘street’” to play 007. Translation? He’s black.
Despite Horowitz’s claims that he wasn’t referring to the actor’s race — “Idris Elba is a terrific actor, but I can think of other black actors who would do it better,” he added in the interview — the Twitterverse was quick to condemn the comment.
“Sorry. What I meant to say was Idris Elba is too” *consults racist euphemism cheat sheet* “urban contemporary to play the new James Bond.”— Kit Lovelace (@kitlovelace) September 1, 2015
But calling Idris Elba “street” is like saying Harrison Ford is “too Jewish”. https://t.co/NGAk3wyj5V— Dave Zirin (@EdgeofSports) September 1, 2015
Idris Elba is “a bit too street for Bond,” said the writer of a new Bond book. Just say “black,” it’s easier. http://t.co/MmMujUoigs— Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) September 1, 2015
Idris Elba is handsome, urbane, confident. If he’s ‘street’, that street is a gilded cobblestone cul-de-sac in front of a stately mansion— Caelyn Sandel (@inurashii) September 1, 2015
Ta-Nehisi Coates, columnist for The Atlantic and author of “Between The World and Me,” probably summed it up best when he tweeted that Hororwitz should “Just be honest and say ‘James Bond’s being white is important to me’ and be done with it.”
Just be honest and say “James Bond’s being white is important to me” and be done with it. cc @reetamachttp://t.co/TvG9R3SbjT— Ta-Nehisi Coates (@tanehisicoates) September 1, 2015
Horowitz followed up his casually racist remark with some far more Bond-like behavior (ie. classy) and apologized. Good show, old sport!
I’m really sorry my comments about Idris Elba have caused offence [full statement attached] pic.twitter.com/UD6ouA45Uv— Anthony Horowitz (@AnthonyHorowitz) September 1, 2015
Looks like Idris Elba can keep that tux on — for now. And just in case you were curious about the actual book, it’s set in 1957, two weeks after “Goldfinger,” and features the return of Pussy Galore.
Anne Cohen was the Forward’s deputy digital media editor. When she’s not looking for the secret Jewish history of Voodoo in New Orleans, or making lists about Ruth Bader Ginsburg , she writes for The Assimilator. She graduated from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism with an M.S. magazine concentration in 2012.
Jewish James Bond Author Thinks Idris Elba is 'Too Street'