Benedict Cumberbatch Apologizes For ‘Colored Actors’ Comment

Published on January 27, 2015.
Jaguar PS / Shutterstock.com

Right about now it seems that the whole world is in love with actor Benedict Cumberbatch, 38, after his roles as Sherlock Holmes, Ford in 12 Years A Slave and the voice behind Smaug/Necromancer in The Hobbit franchise.

Cumberbatch however did receive some pretty harsh backlash for a comment he made when discussing a lack of diversity in the film industry in Britain.

In an interview with Tavis Smiley the actor stated, “I think as far as colored actors go, it gets really difficult in the UK, and I think a lot of my friends have had more opportunities here [in the U.S.] than in the UK, and that’s something that needs to change.”

Afterwards many reacted on social media to him using the term “colored actors,” criticizing his choice of words for being very out of touch and offensive.

Some did try to defend Cumberbatch by pointing out he was trying to speak out for more diversity. Tavis Smiley, an African American was one of those people, tweeted out, “Those who saw Benedict Cumberbatch on @PBS, know he feels persons of color are underrepresented in #Hollywood.”

Cumberbatch then issued a lengthy apology stating, “I’m devastated to have caused offense by using this outmoded terminology. I offer my sincere apologies. I make no excuse for my being an idiot and know the damage is done. I can only hope this incident will highlight the need for correct usage of terminology that is accurate and inoffensive. The most shaming aspect of this for me is that I was talking about racial inequality in the performing arts in the U.K. and the need for rapid improvements when I used the term.”

“I feel the complete fool I am,” he continued. “And while I am sorry to have offended people and to learn from my mistakes in such a public manner please be assured I have. I apologize again to anyone who I offended for this thoughtless use of inappropriate language about an issue which affects friends of mine and which I care about deeply.”

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