The internet's latest flurry of anger centered squarely on the character of James Bond, once again, after the current Bond novel writer, Anthony Horowitz, took a controversial stance on the actor that he'd like to see take on the spy's mantle next.
‘Idris Elba is a terrific actor, but I can think of other black actors who would do it better.’
He names Adrian Lester, star of Hustle.
‘For me, Idris Elba is a bit too rough to play the part. It’s not a colour issue. I think he is probably a bit too “street” for Bond. Is it a question of being suave? Yeah.’
Here's what we ignored:
While most essays based around online "outrage culture" have come to life in response to certain amounts of backlash, it's important to remember that blind rage is not only incorrect -- but dangerous. In real-world cases, such as the recent murder of two journalists at the hands of a former co-worker, an incorrect photo was widespread across the internet. In place of the co-worker was a friend of the victims who shared the same skin tone as the murderer, putting the blame on an innocent man while the actual murderer was still on the run. To say that the internet doesn't always fact-check would be an understatement.
In the case of recent Bond drama, though, fans seem to skim over the author's actual casting suggestion of Adrian Lester, a black man, for the role.
Ignored by those outraged and those against a black actor in the role of James Bond, the author was perceived as someone absolutely against the progression of diversity in cinema, when in fact, he'd suggested a different black actor.
Here's what's actually wrong:
The word "street" was an absolutely incorrect way to describe Elba, as it's often used when describing people of color -- akin other gross favorites such as "hood" -- and the anger at that wording, specifically, is not misplaced.
As an author, Horowitz is expected to have better command of his words, and even he recognized that in a later apology:
While I believe that anyone who doesn't see Idris Elba as "suave" has never seen the man in action, it's good to see Horowitz jumping up to admit that his choice of words was horrible. But, for anyone arguing against a black James Bond in Horowitz' honor, you might want to take a few steps back and reread this.
Here's what we should debate next:
To recap: Anthony Horowitz is not against a person of color playing James Bond (his choice, Adrian Lester, is black), but choice of the word "street" when describing a person of color was wrong. He's since apologized for it, and while many feel that the apology was not sincere, he spotlighted that incorrect and offensive description as well.
Now, of course, comes the real debate -- between the two actors, who would make a better Bond?