The author Anthony Horowitz has apologized for calling Idris Elba "too street" to play James Bond.
Horowitz, a British author of the latest Bond novel, "Trigger Mortis," made his initial comment in an interview with England's Daily Mail that appeared Saturday. It set off an online flurry of responses, many charging racism.
A writer at USA Today called Horowitz's comment a "code-worded, racist opinion," while another at Hitfix noted, "Another day, another white dude talking about James Bond in coded racism." Meanwhile, Twitter users rallied to Elba's defense. One post read, "That translates to, 'He's black and we don't want a black Bond.' " Another responded, "get me Google maps -- I may want to visit that street."
In his interview with The Daily Mail, Horowitz noted that his anti-Elba bias wasn't a "colour issue." He also prefaced his comment by naming another black British actor who he felt might make a better Bond: Adrian Lester, a star of the BBC crime-caper series "Hustle." Here is what Horowitz told the The Daily Mail in full:
"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."
Tuesday afternoon, Horowitz himself took to Twitter and issued this apology:
"I'm really sorry my comments about Idris Elba have caused offence. That wasn't my intention. I was asked in my interveiw if Idris Elba would make a good James Bond. In the article I expressed the opinion that 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."