Idris Elba's 'Luther' Isn't "Authentic" Because He "Doesn't Have Any Black Friends," Claims BBC Diversity Chief
While recently explaining the BBC's diversity and inclusion strategy during the digital MIPTV conference, Wayland, who is Black, pointed to Elba's character not being "authentic" enough, saying he "doesn't have any Black friends" and "doesn't eat any Caribbean food."
"When [Luther] first came out everybody loved the fact that Idris Elba was in there — a really strong, Black character lead," she said.
"It's great having those big landmark shows with those key characters, but it's about making sure everything around them, their environment, their culture, the set is absolutely reflective. It will be very much about how can we make sure that this program is authentic in terms of the storytelling."
Wayland then added: "This doesn't feel authentic."
The series was created by Neil Cross, a white man, who explained to the Daily Mail, "It would have been an act of tremendous arrogance for me to try to write a Black character. We would have ended up with a slightly embarrassed, ignorant, middle-class, white writer's idea of a Black character."
Cross also explained that Elba only took the role because race didn't factor into the casting.
Wayland has suggested that part of the solution for her issue with Luther would be to hire more Black directors.
Meanwhile, fans of the show have criticized Wayland's position, saying that her comments demonstrate problematic stereotypes. You can find a few reactions of many below.
So Luther wasn't diverse because he wasn't a stereotype? pic.twitter.com/Fu4puqsFec— James Bembridge (@TheBembridge) April 14, 2021
"Luther isn't black enough to be real because he doesn't have any black friends and doesn't eat any Caribbean food"— Chris Rose (@ArchRose90) April 14, 2021
When you see groups through the prism of stereotypes this is the insulting outcome. Would she prefer to see Luther dunk basketball hoops at the end of every scene? https://t.co/s6esjoCMbQ
Yesterday, it was implied I'm not black enough because I didn't have any black friends in my photo.— Calvin Robinson (@calvinrobinson) April 14, 2021
Today, BBC's diversity chief says @idriselba's Luther "isn't black enough" because "he doesn't have any black friends".
These lazy stereotypes are racist!https://t.co/sIDc7c0pnL https://t.co/bpQhEIKOfA
I just read the BBC's head of diversity Miranda Wayland says Idris Elba's TV character Luther isn't black enough to be real because he doesn't have black friends or eat Caribbean food. Just because Luther likes pie 'n' mash instead of jerk chicken doesn't make him any less black!— BermondseyBoy5.0 (@LovelyGeezer65) April 14, 2021
The police turn on Luther every chance they get. How is that NOT an authentic black character?— Femi😷 (@Femi_Sorry) April 14, 2021