Rush Limbaugh is taking issue with Sony executive Amy Pascal's leaked suggestion that black actor Idris Elba should be the next James Bond.
"James Bond is a total concept put together by Ian Fleming. He was white and Scottish. Period. That is who James Bond is," Limbaugh told his listeners. "But now [they are] suggesting that the next James Bond should be Idris Elba, a black Briton, rather than a white from Scotland. But that's not who James Bond is."
"I know it's racist to probably point this out," Limbaugh added.
Extrapolating his complaint, Limbaugh bemoaned the fact that "Annie" was updated this holiday season to be played by a black girl, and that Marvel will soon portray Captain America as a black man.
In an effort to be intellectually fair about his assessment, the radio host undertook a thought exercise.
He asked his listeners if it would be okay to do a biopic of President Obama and first Lady Michelle where they're played by white actors, like George Clooney and Kate Hudson. He went on, proposing hypotheticals like Kelsey Grammar as Nelson Mandela, Rob Reiner as Al Sharpton, and George C. Scott as Colin Powell.
"We do a movie on Condoleezza Rice. You might be thinking we would have Halle Berry. No no no: Scarlett Johansson . . . Scarlett Johansson as Condoleezza Rice," he said.
All of Limbaugh's hypotheticals seemed outrageous because they were in reference to real life people – not fictional characters like James Bond, Annie, or a comic book superhero.
"While we can debate whether historical figures should always be played actors who share the same race, clearly fictitious ones can evolve as the times change," a writer at The Daily Beast pointed out
The Boston Globe opined
that Limbaugh didn't even have room to complain about Elba being a Brit instead of a Scot, as Irish star Pierce Brosnan and Englishman Roger Moore have both portrayed 007 without a single peep from the radio host. Truly, only Sean Connery, who is Scottish and white, fit Limbaugh's criteria.
Elba is no stranger to playing traditionally white characters, having recently played Norse god Heimdall in Marvel's "Thor" movies.
Asked by NPR
if he would accept the role as James Bond should it be offered, he said, "I just don't want to be the black James Bond. Sean Connery wasn't the Scottish James Bond, and Daniel Craig wasn't the blue-eyed James Bond, so if I played him, I don't want to be called the black James Bond."
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