Actor Idris Elba has hit back at a “stupid” conspiracy theory that he and other celebrities are being paid to lie about their coronavirus diagnoses.
The British star, who revealed he had tested positive for the illness earlier this month, after being exposed to someone with coronavirus, slammed the suggestion as “absolute bullsh*t” in an Instagram Live broadcast Tuesday.
At a time when coronavirus testing has lagged in the United States, with even sick people in some areas unable to be tested, celebrities, athletes, politicians and other high-profile people have talked about testing positive, even without showing symptoms.This disparity has led to anger and frustration — something Elba addressed in his broadcast, saying he wants everyone to be able to be tested.
He also told his 4.7 million followers: “Test-shaming is, like, counterproductive. I don’t see what people get out of that.
“And also, like, this idea that someone like myself is gunna be paid to say I’ve got coronavirus — that’s absolute bullshit, such stupidness,” he continued.
According to figures from Johns Hopkins University, the global pandemic has killed more than 19,000 people worldwide.
Days after the “Luther” star revealed his diagnosis, his wife, Sabrina Dhowre Elba, confirmed she had also tested positive following her decision to isolate with him.”I don’t feel anything that would come to what people would now expect to be a symptom of coronavirus, which is really strange,” she said.
“It might change in the coming weeks, and we’ll keep everyone updated. But it is worrisome that we’re sitting here, two people, and … we’re asymptomatic.”In his Instagram Live video, Elba said spreading false news that celebrities are lying was the “quickest way to get people sick that way, because there’s no benefit to me and Sabrina sitting here.”
Although he didn’t mention her by name, Elba may have been responding to Grammy Award-winning rapper Cardi B’s suggestion that celebrities who say they have tested positive for the illness without symptoms sound like they are in a “Flat Tummy Tea commercial” — a reference to the detox products influencers are paid to promote online. The rapper didn’t specify which celebrities she was referring to.
“I’m starting to feel like y’all n***as is paying n***as to say that they got it,” she said in a recent Instagram Live video. “If y’all are paying n***as to say that they got it, pay me too.”
CNN has reached out to Elba and Cardi B’s representatives for further comment.