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Famed white author warned against creating black characters in his books

Famed British author Anthony Horowitz says he's been "warned against" creating black characters for his novels. "This is maybe dangerous territory but there is a chain of thought in America that it is inappropriate for white writers to try to create black characters," Horowitz said. (Getty Images)

Famous British author Anthony Horowitz claimed Sunday that he was "warned off" putting a black character in his new series of books because it would be "inappropriate" for a white writer to do so, according to the Daily Mail.

Horowitz, 62, created the Alex Rider series of teen spy novels, one of which became a movie in 2006.

Speaking to Daily Mail's Event Magazine, Horowitz said that an editor told him that creating a black character in his upcoming new series of books could be seen as "patronizing." The new series will be about the "state of the world," according to Horowitz, and is to feature two lead characters — a white boy and a black boy.

"One is a white boy and the other is planned to be a black boy, because I have for a long, long time said that there aren’t enough books around for every ethnicity," Horowitz said. "This is maybe dangerous territory but there is a chain of thought in America that it is inappropriate for white writers to try to create black characters.

"That it is actually not our experience and therefore to do so is, by its very nature, artificial and possibly patronizing," Horowitz said, speaking of writing from the perspective of a black character. "Therefore, I was warned off doing it. Which was, I thought, disturbing and upsetting."

Horowitz is now having second thoughts about his intent to be inclusive with his characters' ethnic backgrounds but has yet to decide what route he will take, the Daily Mail reported.

"Taking it to its logical extreme, all my characters will from now be 62-year-old white Jewish men living in London. I haven’t yet decided what to do," Horowitz told the Daily Mail. "I will have to think about whether this character can be black or white."

Horowitz has faced accusations of racism before. In 2015, he called black British actor Idris Elba "too street" to play the late Ian Fleming's classic British spy character James Bond.

"For me, Idris Elba is a bit too rough to play the part. It's not a colour issue. I think he is probably a bit too 'street' for Bond. Is it a question of being suave? Yeah," Horowitz said in a 2015 interview with the Daily Mail.

Upon the announcement that Bond actor Daniel Craig was to retire from the role, Idris Elba was a popular choice to fill the role, winning a Time poll with 12.5 percent of the vote, beating out British actor Tom Hardy who finished in second place with 5.5 percent.

The backlash shocked Horowitz, who made it clear that he was not referring to Elba's skin color when he made the comment.

"That wasn't my intention," Horowitz said in a statement released on Twitter. "I was asked in my interview if Idris Elba would make a good James Bond. In the article, I expressed the opinion that to my mind Adrian Lester would be a better choice but I'm a writer, not a casting director, so what do I know?

Horowitz made both a public and personal apology to Elba and said the actor "could not have been more charming, more delightful and more humane."

Horowitz is releasing a James Bond book based on a story outline written by Fleming for the first five episodes of a British James Bond television series that was scrapped in favor of the full-length Bond films.

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