Benedict Cumberbatch is “devastated to have caused offence” after using the wrong term to describe black actors.
he Sherlock star said “coloured actors” when talking about the lack of diversity on British screens during a chat with US talk show Tavis Smiley. After his comments caused uproar among anti-racism charities, the 38-year-old issued a heartfelt apology.
“I'm devastated to have caused offence 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,” he said. “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.”
The Imitation Game actor made the error during a debate on diversity. He said he felt that a lot of his friends from other ethnic backgrounds had had more opportunity in America than in the UK. But British anti-racism educational charity Show Racism the Red Card said the term "coloured" is now outdated and has the potential to cause offence.
“I can only hope this incident will highlight the need for correct usage of terminology that is accurate and inoffensive,” he continued. “The most shaming aspect of this for me is that I was talking about racial inequality in the performing arts in the UK and the need for rapid improvements in our industry when I used the term. I apologise 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."
Show Racism the Red Card added in its own statement that Benedict had highlighted a very important issue “within the entertainment industry and within society”.