Imitation Game actor Benedict Cumberbatch was recently on The Tavis Smiley Show for an interview and while on the show, the 38-year-old British actor made a statement that got quite a lot of backlash on social media.
Answering a question about Nigerian-British actors Chiwetel Ejiofor and David Oyelowo getting recognition for 12 Years a Slave and Selma respectively, he said “I think as far as coloured actors go it gets really different in the U.K., and a lot of my friends have had more opportunities here [in the U.S.] than in the U.K., and that’s something that needs to change.”
Social media reacted to his choice of words for ‘coloured actors’.
Actually laughing out loud at Benedict Cumberbatch’s use of “coloured” to describe black/brown actors, the man is genuinely from Mars.
— Judith (@otherjudith) January 27, 2015
Benedict Cumberbatch expresses sympathy with the plight of ‘coloured’ actors. Are the public school elite out of touch with the rest of us? — Martin Shovel (@MartinShovel) January 26, 2015
Cumberbot still learning to speak human; forgets they stopped saying “colored” 40 years ago http://t.co/d2eC3acbp0
— BlackBroDude (@CraigSJ) January 26, 2015
you can’t be saying “coloured” actors do better in the US but you the translucent english man played KHAN SINGH in star trek. abeg, commot. — mi-mi. (@kcheersbye) January 25, 2015
— Lauren G (@geeoharee) January 25, 2015
No, he said coloured actors, not only black. “@Independent: Benedict Cumberbatch says Hollywood is better for black British actors
— akapancho (@Ayakafenu) January 25, 2015
‘Coloured actors’ hmmmm
— n/a (@ohffsman) January 25, 2015
Benedict Cumberbatch apologises after calling black actors ‘coloured’ = Looks like he was showing his true colours!
— WEST HAM & MOVIES (@Westham0510) January 27, 2015
Benedict Cumberbatch has released an apology statement to People, “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 in our industry when I used the term. I feel the complete fool I am 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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