Why? Because of his skintone. Maybe we were ignorant in the ’90s (which is a fair case to make), but it was rare you saw a white person in a cartoon that was painted with a serious tan. Also, his facial anatomy was certainly not Anglo-Saxon, if you get what I’m saying.
The “Lex Luthor is a light-skinned black dude” gets especially hardcore when you look at this screencap from Comic Vine of Luthor next to an actual black character (if I’m not mistaken, this is Steel before he became Steel, and also before he realized he was working for a villain).
Think I’m making up this controversy and confusion? Just click this link, which you take you to a Google search I did. There were and still are people asking if the animated Lex Luthor was black.
But the real truth is that Lex isn’t black. He’s not even Italian (which was my theory growing up). According to one of the Comic Vine commenters, Lex’s look is based on Greek-American actor Telly Savalas, who was big in the 1970s for playing the detective Theo Kojak on the show “Kojak.” According to the Comic Viner, though, the DC Animated Universe Lex is based on Savalas in On Her Majesty’s Service, in which he played Blofeld. In any case, a side-by-side shows how undeniable it is that Savalas and Lex are one in the same. Knowing Savalas is the basis for DCAU Lex also explains why this Lex has infinite swag and sex appeal (Due to “Kojak” and Theo’s swagger, including his signature line of “Who loves ‘ya, baby?”, Savalas was a huge sex symbol back in the day.)
(Fun fact: Savalas was a journalist for ABC News before he became a huge Hollywood star. He also studied psychology and was a WWII soldier.)
So mystery solved: Lex Luthor is Greek.
Are you one of those folks that could have sworn up and down that Lex was black? Give your opinions in the comments section below!