James Bond Author Apologizes for Calling Idris Elba ‘Street’

Nobody slights Idris and gets away with it.

British spy novelist and heir to the James Bond novels Anthony Horowitz pissed off the entire Internet on Tuesday after declaring that actor Idris Elba was “too street” to play 007 in future movies.  “For me, Idris Elba is a bit too rough to play the part,” said Horowtiz. “It’s not a colour issue. I think he is probably a bit too ‘street’ for Bond.”

The Internet disagreed, with journalists pointing out that “street” means something more than Horowitz is letting on, especially given just how suave Elba has looked on magazine covers for years now.

“Given the context, Horowitz might have well have said thuggish,” explains Kwame Opam at the Verge. “Horowtiz is suggesting that Idris Elba has a presence that’s little too lower class and a little too dangerous to play James Bond. His blackness isn’t something white viewers can idealize, but instead comes across as unruly and uncultured — unlike someone like Horowitz’s preferred choice, Adrian Lester, who is a fine black actor known for his Shakespearean roles. Horowitz seems to think Elba lacks the respectability needed to play Her Majesty’s best murderer.”

Horowitz got the message, apparently, and tweeted an apology:

This sounds like a weasely excuse, but whatever. Just remember, Anthony: it’s impossible for Idris Elba to be anything but suave.

Photos by Maxim/Robbie Fimmano