- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 1, 2015

James Bond novelist Anthony Horowitz is being branded a racist after he claimed black English actor Idris Elba is too “street” to play the “suave” Bond.

Mr. Horowitz, the author commissioned by Ian Fleming’s estate to pen the next James Bond novel, said he isn’t too impressed with the fan favorite for the next Bond role.

Idris Elba is a terrific actor, but I can think of other black actors who would do it better,” he said, naming Adrian Lester, star of the BBC’s “Hustle,” The Daily Mail reported.

Mr. Horowitz, whose first Bond novel, “Trigger Mortis,” is published this month, insisted that “it is not a color issue.”

“For me, Idris Elba is a bit too rough to play the part,” he told The Mail. “It’s not a color issue. I think he is probably a bit too ‘street’ for Bond. Is it a question of being suave? Yeah.”

The comments sparked a flurry of outrage on social media by critics who accused Mr. Horowitz of racism. Vulture magazine called his comments “casually racist,” while USA Today’s headline exclaimed, “Hold on, WHAT?!”

“Um, we don’t even know how to respond to this insanity,” the paper’s Arienne Thompson wrote, declaring Mr. Elba “the suavest, poshest, most Bond-y dude on this planet.”

By Tuesday afternoon, “Idris Elba” had become the No. 1 nationwide trending topic on Twitter.

A short time later, Mr. Horowitz took to Twitter to apologize.

“I’m really sorry my comments about Idris Elba have caused offence,” he wrote in a linked statement. “That wasn’t my intention. I was asked in my interview if Idris Elba would make a good James Bond. In the article I expressed the opinion that to my mind Adrian Lester would be a better choice, but I’m a writer not a casting director, so what do I know? Clumsily, I chose the word ‘street’ as Elba’s gritty portrayal of DCI John Luther was in my mind but I admit it was a poor choice of word. I am mortified to have caused offence.”

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