BBC diversity chief Miranda Wayland is under fire after she claimed Idris Elba‘s Luther character “doesn’t feel authentic” because of his lack of Black culture.
According to The Times, Wayland shared her thoughts on the series during an entertainment industry conference, where she discussed BBC’s diversity and inclusion strategy.
“When it first came out everybody loved the fact that Idris Elba was in there — a really strong, Black character lead,” Wayland began. “We all fell in love with him. Who didn’t, right?,” she said. “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.”
According to Wayland, the crime drama was superficially diverse, lacking real culture on screen.
“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,” Wayland explained. “It will be very much about how can we make sure that this program is authentic in terms of the storytelling.”
In response to Wayland’s comments, the BBC released a statement, obtained by Metro.
“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 statement read. “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.”
However, fans still had plenty to say. “So Luther wasn’t diverse because he wasn’t a stereotype?,” asked one fan. “The police turn on Luther every chance they get,” tweeted another. “How is that NOT an authentic black character?”
Elba has yet to publicly respond to Wayland’s comments.
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