Coronavirus: Idris Elba Fires Back After Rumors Allege Stars Are Paid to Say They Test Positive

Idris Elba revealed earlier this month that he had tested positive for COVID-19, and the actor is hitting back at speculation that he was paid to do so. Elba went on Instagram Live on Tuesday along with his wife, Sabrina Dhowre, who has also tested positive, and slammed test-shaming, sharing that he thinks everyone should be able to be tested for the disease.

"I think that the negativity around 'test shaming' is, like, counterproductive, I don't see what people get out of that," he said.

Coronavirus testing in the United States has become a major issue — many people who are feeling ill are unable to get tested while many high-profile figures have discussed their own test results. Some have tested negative and others have tested positive while having no symptoms, which has led to growing frustration about the apparent ease with which celebrities can access a test.

"It shouldn't be about whether rich or poor gets it, everyone should be able to get a test for sure," Elba said. He also refuted claims that he and other celebrities had been paid to say that had the disease.

"Also, this idea that someone like myself is gonna be paid to say 'I've got coronavirus,' that's, like, absolute bulls—," Elba said. "Such stupidness and people wanna spread that as if it's news. That's stupid. That's the quickest way to get people sick. There's no benefit to me and Sabrina sitting here saying we've got it when we ain't got it. I don't even understand the logic of that."

It's possible that Elba was responding to Cardi B, who held her own Instagram Live this week and compared celebrities announcing they had the coronavirus to influencers selling "Flat Tummy Tea."

"I'm starting to feel like y'all n—as is paying n—as to say that they got it," she said. "If y'all are paying n—as to say that they got it, pay me too."

Elba and Dhowre say they do not have any symptoms of the virus but Elba said he got tested after meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife, Sophie Trudeau, who later tested positive. He said he self-quarantined and has been doing so ever since but told Oprah Winfrey on her Apple TV+ series, Oprah Talks COVID-19, that not having symptoms was an important factor to note.

'I'm glad you brought that up, because I think that's a real key component here," he said via video chat. "I could be in the public, I could be at home with my family, I could be still spreading it, and I have no symptoms."

Dhowre told Winfrey that she ultimately decided not to isolate herself from her husband in the home where he was quarantined.


"I'm not surprised — as soon as I heard that Idris was potentially exposed," she said of her own diagnosis. "I was on my way anyway to be with him, I think that was my instinct as a wife."

Photo Credit: Getty / Bruce Glikas