Benedict Cumberbatch Apologizes After Race Controversy

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Benedict Cumberbatch apologized Monday after talking about ‘colored actors’ on a U.S. talk show, saying he’s “devastated to have caused offense.”

The Sherlock star came under fire for using the term, ironically during a discussion on the lack of diversity in British acting. He said he had witnessed British actors finding more opportunities in the U.S. than they do in the U.K..

“I think as far as colored 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,” he said last week on PBS talk show Tavis Smiley.

An anti-racism charity, Show Racism The Red Card, told The Independent that while they applauded Cumberbatch for shining a spotlight on a a very important issue, he “also inadvertently highlighted the issue of appropriate terminology and the evolution of language.” The charity said the term ‘colored’ is now “outdated and has the potential to cause offense.”

The writer Bonnie Greer said: “If he was 80, no one would have noticed. Under 60 — who says “coloured” anymore? It indicates a mindset; a certain circle.”

In a statement to People, Cumberbatch 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. I apologize again to anyone I offended for this thoughtless use of inappropriate language about an issue which affects friends of mine and which I care about deeply.”

Read next: Benedict Cumberbatch Inspires a Fashion Line Called ‘Cumberbitch’

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