As someone with the name Benedict Cumberbatch, Benedict Cumberbatch should know how much the names we give people matter.
"I'm an idiot." (screengrab via PBS)
Benedict Cumberbatch has apologized profusely after using the term "colored" during an interview on Tavis Smiley on PBS last week.
While lamenting the lack of opportunities for actors of color (ahem), Cumberbatch said: "I think as far as colored actors go, it gets really different in the UK." (Here's the clip. Cumberbatch slips up at 23:30.) Smiley, himself a man of color, doesn't dispute Cumberbatch's use of the term or even seem to notice it.
Nothing makes actors less attractive than watching them talk about acting.
(screengrab via PBS)
There's something about that cultured British accent that makes you think, "Huh. Maybe we do say 'colored.'"
But we don't. And some viewers were pretty annoyed that Cumberbatch might encourage the use of this outdated term. Anyway, we can put all that behind us because a) based on the context, it was obviously an honest mistake, and b) Cumberbatch has apologized profusely.
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.