While promoting his upcoming role in the badass western, The Harder They Fall, Idris Elba has opened up about his experience of being one of the very first celebs to catch COVID-19 during the early days of the pandemic. Shortly after revealing that he and his wife tested positive, Elba was inundated with conspiracy theories, including some with extremely dangerous racial undertones. Despite putting on a strong front and swiftly smacking down the wild accusations as soon as they came across his radar, the actor recently revealed that the experience took a toll on him privately. Via Esquire:
“The good favor that some people in the public eye get–which I definitely benefit from–was gone in an instant. In an instant. People that loved me one moment absolutely f*cking hated me the next. It was like, ‘You’re fake; you’re being paid.’ No one really believed. It was really a tough time. So where I am now, you’re looking at a man that’s very thankful. You’re looking at a man that’s very reflective of what’s happened over the last eighteen months. You’re looking at a man that doesn’t really have time to waste on pretending to be anything but what I am. Who I am and what I am.”
Elba is referencing a viral conspiracy at the time where celebrities were accused of being paid to pretend they tested positive for COVID-19 to boost the perception that the pandemic is real, which it, of course, was. What was so surreal about the theory is that other celebrities were spreading it, which clearly was frustrating for Elba. Nothing like having your colleagues turn around and accuse of you faking a potentially fatal illness. That can’t be great.