Idris Elba says racist TV shows should be rated, not removed: “I don’t believe in censorship”

'Luther' star has advocated for a ratings system

Idris Elba has said racist content in films and TV should come with a warning and a ratings system should be put in place.

The Luther star was speaking after programmes such as Little Britain were removed from streaming services over scenes featuring David Walliams and Matt Lucas wearing blackface.

He has advocated for a ratings system that warns viewers of a film or show with outdated or offensive viewpoints.

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“I’m very much a believer in freedom of speech,” Elba told the Radio Times. “But the thing about freedom of speech is that it’s not suitable for everybody.

“That’s why we have a rating system: we tell you that this particular content is rated U, PG, 15, 18.

“To mock the truth, you have to know the truth. But to censor racist themes within a show, to pull it – wait a second, I think viewers should know that people made shows like this.”

He continued: “Out of respect for the time and the movement, commissioners and archive-holders pulling things they think are exceptionally tone-deaf at this time – fair enough and good for you. But I think, moving forward, people should know that freedom of speech is accepted, but the audience should know what they’re getting into.

“I don’t believe in censorship. I believe that we should be allowed to say what we want to say. Because, after all, we’re story-makers.”

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Meanwhile, Elba has said a Luther film could still be in the works – saying he is “this close” to making it.

The actor explained that there wasn’t “a real formal plan” for the future of the TV series “at the moment”, but preparations for a film, first teased in 2018, are still on the horizon.

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