James Bond has been a staple of cinematic work in Britain for more than 56 years, with 26 films surrounding 007’s adventures. But millennial viewers who are watching early Bond films have taken to Twitter, blasting the franchise for its sexiest and racist themes.
Viewers who were too young to watch Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton or even Pierce Brosnan portray the suave spy in theaters are now watching the throwback films with fresh eyes, and they are taking major issue with Bond’s demeanor.
Connery’s portrayal of Bond in particular has young audiences dissatisfied as they have painted him a “sexist wife beater” and “scumbag” on social media. Connery starred in seven Bond films from 1962-1983.
Watching old school Sean Connery James Bond movies. He's basically a rapist who occasionally murders a Russian person.— mo mandel (@momandel) January 25, 2017
Sean Connerys JAMES BOND is a flat out rapist. https://t.co/FMmZG3pMzs— Diedrich Bader (@bader_diedrich) December 9, 2017
Watching old James Bond movies and realized:
😕😔— Da'Real Slim 'Seyi (@itsSho_time) January 25, 2018
dude was low key a rapist
Aside from being painted a sexist, Moore's portrayal of Bond in Man With the Golden Gun in 1974 was dubbed racist for remarks may by the sheriff, played by J.W. Pepper.
The American officer is seen on vacation in Thailand in the film, where he calls people in Bangkok "little brown pointy heads."
'The Man With the Golden Gun' is OK. A little anti-climatic but Christopher Lee is excellent. Could have done without racist Sheriff though— TonyCross (@Lokster71) May 28, 2017
Watching ‘Man With The Golden Gun’ and good lordddd the fact that they thought the hyper-racist sheriff character was a fun/wacky presence to bring back speaks volumes— Cameron (@Cambot96) January 23, 2018
The man with the golden gun was just on tv and damn that was so racist it's hard to believe it was filmed in colour— Lament Cube (@PrototypeCube) May 21, 2017
The criticism of early Bond films comes after millennial viewers took an interest in 90s sitcom Friends, which was recently added to Netflix. After watching the series, many claimed the fan-favorite comedy was homophobic, transphobic and sexist. But comparatively, some maintain that Bond's inappropriate themes are worse.
If the millenials think friends is sexist they should watch James Bond "A view to Kill" they will go nuts.— Kris (@evilbuf) January 14, 2018
The conversation on race and sexism is even being brought into modern portrayals of the character as talks of developing a story for an African-American Bond or a female lead have made recent headlines.
When asked about the direction of the series after current Bond actor Daniel Craig exits, producer Barbara Broccoli said, "These films tend to reflect the times so we always try to push the envelope a little bit. Anything is possible. Right now it's Daniel Craig, and I'm very happy with Daniel Craig, but who knows what the future will bring?”
Actor Idris Elba has also spoken out about his desire to see a female Bond — all while he is considered among fans’ favorite to replace Craig when the time comes.
“I would be interested in having a Bond character other than being a male,” Elba said, as reported by PEOPLE. “It could be a woman, it could be a black woman, it could be a white woman. But I think that character, everyone would like to see [them] do something different with it, you know. Why not?”
The next 007-based film starring Craig is unnamed, but is set to release November 8, 2019.