Idris Elba makes cryptic response to Luther’s diversity drama

Idris Elba has responded to the recent race discussion that is taking place about the series Luther

Idris Elba
(Image credit: Ferdaus Shamim / Contributor / Getty Images)

Actor Idris Elba has made a cryptic response to the diversity debate that has currently surrounded the BBC show Luther, which he starred in as the eponymous character.

Miranda Wayland, the BBC’s creative diversity chief, spoke on a panel at this year’s MIPTV conference. During this discussion, she sparked a debate by suggesting that the BBC’s Luther was perhaps not as diverse as fans may have thought.

The Times reported that she said, “When it first came out everybody loved the fact that Idris Elba was in there – a really strong, Black character lead. We all fell in love with him. Who didn’t, right? But after you got into about the second series, you got kind of like, OK, he doesn’t have any Black friends, he doesn’t eat any Caribbean food, this doesn’t feel authentic.”

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These comments received a mixed reaction from fans. One said on Twitter, "So... You’re not authentically black enough unless you have black friends and eat Caribbean food? What's the maximum number of non-black friends you're allowed to have to be “authentic" black?”

However other fans defended this statement from the BBC diversity chief and said, “I don’t think she’s saying solely eating certain foods or having certain friends is indicative of the “black” experience (of course not ) but she's saying key elements of a black person's experience (in Britain) or a black person's in that role, experience is missing.”

Idris Elba appeared to comment on this debate by writing on his Instagram story. On Instagram, the actor said, “We must not pull ourselves backwards, only push ourselves forwards. IE.” It appears that the actor would prefer to move on from this debate and learn from these comments, rather than get pulled into a racial debate.

BBC has since released a statement to Metro that restated their commitment to diversity. The BBC stated, “Luther is a multi-award winning crime drama series and the iconic role of DCI John Luther has become one of TV’s most powerful detective characters of which we are tremendously proud. The BBC is committed to its continued investment in diversity and recent BBC One dramas I May Destroy You and Small Axe are testament to that. Of course, people can have open discussions about our shows but that doesn’t mean it’s a statement of policy.”