Benedict Cumberbatch has apologized for his “colored” remark when speaking about black actors. He used the term during an interview, and was “devastated” at the offense that it later caused. He called himself an “idiot” for not thinking before using the word.
During the interview on a PBS, the actor spoke about the diversity issues for black actors in Briton compared to those in the United States. He argued that American TV officials are more open to casting black actors. While mentioning “colored actors” rather than black, Cumberbatch spoke about how many of his friends gained more opportunities in American than back home, and that needed to change.
The Sherlock Holmes actor appeared on the Tavis Smiley Show when he fell into the trap of using the outdated term. He was not considering how the term would be taken, but realized afterwards that he should not have used it. While people were annoyed at the use of the term, they did commend his statement that something needs to change in diversity in British TV.
The Show Racism the Red Card spoke about the whole interview, saying that The Imitation Game actor did the right thing highlighting the issue within TV and movies. The spokesperson for the charity also noted that he “highlighted the issue of appropriate terminology,” even if it was done accidentally. It highlighted how language has evolved over the years.
Cumberbatch quickly apologized for the “colored” remark, saying that he was an “idiot” for causing the offense. The anti-racism charity went on to explain that the historical use and connotations associated with that one term led to the offense. People need to think about their words before using them.
During his apology, Cumberbatch acted with respect. Rather than trying to make excuses, he said that there was “no excuse” and that the “damage is done.” He was very sincere in offering his apologies over the offense caused for using the “outmoded terminology.” He has learned his lesson, and will think about the words he uses in the future.
The interview was due to the number of British actors who have lately found success in Hollywood. Many British black actors have found more success in the States than they have back home. Idris Elba is just one example, who became a household name due to his role of Stringer Bell in The Wire.
This is not the first time that the British actor has found himself in the middle of controversy over race. During an interview with the New York Times, city commissioner Stacey Cumberbatch explained that she believed the actor’s ancestors had owned her ancestors in a Barbados sugar plantation. He has never denied his ancestors’ history and was even encouraged to change his surname professionally due to his ancestors.
Other actors have spoken out about the lack of diversity on British TV, both black and white. It is something that needs to change, and actors making viewers aware of the problem will help. Cumberbatch tried to do that, but has had to apologize for his “colored” remark.
By Alexandria Ingham