Luther, a British crime drama starring Idris Elba in the titular role, is an award-winning television program that ran for five seasons on the BBC network. Miranda Wayland, who serves as BBC‘s diversity chief, has come under fire for saying that the series isn’t “Black enough” for a number of reasons that have confused viewers.
As reported by the Daily Mail, Wayland, who is Black, spoke with the MIPTV conference and stated that the show, “isn’t Black enough to be real” and landed on that point because “he doesn’t have any black friends and doesn’t eat any Caribbean food.”
The full quote in question is below:
When [Luther] 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.
In fairness, Wayland is suggesting that the brooding DCI John Luther, while obviously Black, doesn’t seemingly go deep enough for the BBC’s needs as far as implementing diversity. In her estimation, the show just brushes the surface of what it means to be Black in modern-day Britain and doesn’t exhibit Luther’s connection to his culture at any point.
The award-winning show comes from Neil Cross, a white novelist, and screenwriter who created Luther. In the same Daily Mail piece, Cross added, “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.”
Elba won a Golden Globe for his portrayal of John Luther and a film connected to the show’s fifth season, which last aired in 2019, has been floated about.
On Twitter, the reaction to Wayland’s statements has been passionate and even harsh at times. We’ve got those tweets listed out below.