Benedict Cumberbatch talked about ‘colored actors,’ then issued an apology


A few nights ago, Benedict Cumberbatch was the guest on Tavis Smiley’s PBS show – you can see the full video here. I like Tavis Smiley, even though I rarely pay attention to his interviews, and I appreciate the fact that Benedict is so dedicated to promoting his work on American public broadcasting (perhaps because Sherlock airs on PBS). Anyway, Bendy’s Tavis Smiley interview became a giant clusterwhoops. During the interview, Benedict spoke about diversity in films, and opportunities for actors of color in America and Britain. These were the words he spoke to Smiley:

“[In America,] it’s an even playing field. [These actors] paid their dues for years by just doing beautiful performances. I think as far as coloured actors go it gets really difficult in the UK, and a lot of my friends have had more opportunities here [in the US] than in the UK and that’s something that needs to change. Something’s gone wrong, we’re not representative enough in our culture of different races and that really does need to step up a pace.”

[From The Daily Mail]

Do you see the problem? It’s this: “…as far as colored actors go…” There’s a difference between saying “actors of color” or “minority actors” versus “colored actors.” But while I caught on Benedict’s words, I’ll admit that I dismissed it just a quickly. I thought, “Huh, maybe it’s different in Britain. Maybe it’s not culturally passé or racially insensitive to use the term ‘colored’ in Britain.” But nope. It’s just as bad in Britain. A British anti-racism group called Show Racism The Red Card issued a statement about Benedict’s words:

“Benedict Cumberbatch has highlighted a very important issue within the entertainment industry and within society. The lack of representation of people from black and ethnic minority backgrounds within certain industries in the UK is an issue which needs addressing, and we are pleased that Benedict has spoken out in support of more appropriate representation and of the views of actors and campaigners like Lenny Henry.

“In doing so, he has also inadvertently highlighted the issue of appropriate terminology and the evolution of language. Show Racism the Red Card feel that the term ‘coloured’ is now outdated and has the potential to cause offence due to the connotations associated with the term and its historical usage. Appropriate terminology differs from country to country; for example, we know that in some countries the term ‘coloured’ is still widely used, and that in the US the term ‘people of colour’ is quite common.

“During our work with young people in schools throughout England, we discuss appropriate language to use when describing people of different skin colours and backgrounds and explain why the term ‘coloured’ is no longer the best way to describe someone.”

[From The Independent]

Yep. I agree. Of course it’s a semantic argument, but semantics are important, especially when your own semantics kneecap the larger conversation you’re trying to have about diversity. And, to his credit, Benedict issued an apology and a statement just as soon as this controversy blew up. Here’s his statement in full:

“I’m devastated to have caused offence by using this outmoded terminology. I offer my sincere apologies. I make no excuse for 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 UK 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 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.”

[From Sky News]

That’s a really good apology. I know I’m partial to Cumby, but isn’t this the kind of apology we want people to make when they’ve committed a verbal offense? Plus, I actually buy that he’s sincerely sorry. In his initial statement with Tavis Smiley, he wasn’t being dismissive towards diversity concerns, he was arguing for more diversity across the board. It’s not like he was committed a verbal offense while eating lunch with Paula Deen and Mel Gibson, you know? Is this controversy over? Or are you still mad?


Photos courtesy of WENN.

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428 Responses to “Benedict Cumberbatch talked about ‘colored actors,’ then issued an apology”

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  1. bammer says:

    Will Celebitchy breakup with him now?

    • Claire says:

      Cb is the battered wife in that relationship, can’t stay away

    • Tig says:

      In a word, no. Within 10 mins, this will have a zillion comments.

      I agree he misspoke- he owned his mistake and apologized for the gaffe. I am no Cbitch, but think he’s a fine actor. I do think tho his tiny Oscar chance just totally died.

      • Claire says:

        I didn’t even think of that but you are so right: bye bye distant third place for the oscar.

      • Artemis says:

        Or maybe the old white men welcome them in their club by giving him the Oscar, I wouldn’t put it past them!

      • PunkyMomma says:

        Goodbye any Oscar chance, Otter.

      • inthekitchen says:

        I agree with @Artemis. I said this below, but I think this actually increases his odds because the Oscar people are already feeling sensitive about being called out for not nominating any black actors, so this will be their way of saying they won’t be cowed by that pressure and they’ll do what they please. He’s one of them anyway…they protect their own.

      • Lindy79 says:

        It would only have been a factor if he was the clear favourite going into it. He isn’t, he hasn’t won a thing for IG.
        This is between Redmayne and Keaton and pretty much has been since the award season started.

        Having seen ToE at the weekend, honestly his performance blew me away, I completely forgot I was watching Eddie Redmayne.

      • PunkyMomma says:

        @Lindy79 – Redmayne deserves the award, hands down.

      • Lindy79 says:

        I went to see it, had seen a lot of the other movies so thought ok, wasn’t expecting much and I get the criticism that the film itself isn’t Best Picture worthy and fair enough but honestly, I was so shocked by his performance and how bloody good it was. I got really emotional at parts of it.

      • Artemis says:

        I’m seeing it tomorrow, I have high expectations! I preferred Whiplash but ToE will do just fine going by most comments :)

    • Sayrah says:

      Oh please!! I can’t believe how many comments his posts get. Will someone please explain the appeal?

      • Charlotte says:

        I don’t get the appeal of so many people who are super popular. Either you feel it, or you don’t. I just started watching Sherlock after never seeing him in anything, and I adore his voice. Otherwise unmoved.

      • paola says:

        I wasn’t a fan either. But lately he got my attention after i watched ‘The imitation game’. He is a very talented actor.. seems quite genuine and true to himself. seems quite humble and funny too.

      • Kiddo says:

        Some of us go on non sequiturs, so it’s fun. Others really like him as an actor, and based on that, find him attractive. The devotion or intensity is inexplicable, though, but it’s like any group of people who truly love some artist or conversely hate some artist. If you look at Jen Aniston posts, the level of hatred exceeds what a kitten-killing dictator would be exposed to. So just shrug and join in, or carefully avoid those articles.

      • Luca76 says:

        No I can’t. I feel sorry for his poor fiancé the Internet crazies are going in on her hard. Maybe not as hard as the Twihards hate on FKA Twigs but at least as hard as the Gosling fans hate on Eva Mendes.

      • Sixer says:

        I see loads of appeal! Foot-in-mouth disease is endlessly entertaining. As are the lengths shillers go to with their shilling. And, for Sixers loose in the hoose, stateside love for posh Brits is also fun. See? Loadsareasons.

      • SnarkySnarkers says:

        So glad I’m not the only one who doesn’t get him. He’s so odd looking! I’ve also never seen anything he’s been in since I don’t pay for cable. I watch maybe 3 or 4 shows with my husband that I download once in a while. I need to just watch an episode of Sherlock or whatever show it is that hes known for so I can see what the hype is all about ;)

        Not sure what to think about the “colored actors” comment. If it really is the same in the UK then thats pretty bad. Its so weird that he is talking about diversity while using a racist term though so idk, its confusing.

      • Kiddo says:

        I come for the Comet Sophies, but stay for the cosmic high.

      • PrincessMe says:

        I’ve never seen any of his movies, and I’ve always been a bigger fan of Hiddles. But I’ve somehow warmed up to Bendy during this Oscar thing. I think a lot of people go overboard with their criticism (felt the same way about Hathaway).

        I do enjoy him in Cabin Pressure though (

        On topic: I’m not offended by him using the word “colored”. I know I don’t speak for all black people, but when I hear somebody use that word, I just think “who the heck says that word these days” and keep it moving. He wasn’t using the word in an offensive way, so I’m not offended.

      • Someonestolemyname says:

        I don’t get his appeal either. He looks like a brother of Chris Martin with more hair.
        I truly don’t get it.
        I went to a SAG screening of The Imitiaion Game and yes he’s an amazing actor, very talented and has a certain elegance, but hot,hunk,heartthrob I just don’t see it.
        He looks like Chris Martin to me.

        That said. I don’t believe for a second he meant his comment to be racist or negative. I don’t think he meant anything by it. It’s an old term, it was used in Dr.Martin Luther King’s , I Have A Dream Speech.
        I don’t think Cummbie meant anything bad, by it.

        He wasn’t going to Win the Oscar anyway. The contest is really now between Michael Keaton and Eddie Redmayne, going by the Award season.

      • chaine says:

        IKR? Especially all the heated gossip about his fiancé. I had never heard of this lady before a few weeks ago, and she appears completely bland and unremarkable, yet I come on this site, and everyone is outraged by her very existence and feverishly painting her as some kind of devious siren who has trapped, TRAPPED, I TELL YOU! this similarly bland and (other than his acting) unremarkable man with her fertile-ovary-having-no-birth-control-using whiles.

      • Sarah says:

        Glad I’m not the only one. Back to the original question – that’s an awesome apology (and I am not a Cumberbitch). None of this “If I offended anyone…..” nonsense.

    • Nev says:

      This is sad and unacceptable.

    • Jenni says:

      The fairytale is over. He is a racist. Not cute.

      • Maria says:

        Jenni, picking ONE word wrong makes him someone who hates people based on their race? WTF?

      • Claire says:

        Your icon is cute!

      • Toodles45 says:

        Goodness, he certainly isn’t a racist. Just a privileged white man that, while answering a question related to the topic of black actors from the UK, used the wrong term to highlight an issue. Tavis even issued a comment that he knows his heart was in the right place and that the use of the use of the word got in the way.

      • Kiddo says:

        I agree with Toodles45. Although not an appropriate term, he didn’t intend the use of the word as a pejorative or derogatory in any manner. He is cluelessly privileged, but that plays into the institutional racism, a kind of apathy and disconnect.

      • V4Real says:

        I’m not a fan of Cumby, don’t see his appeal or attraction. But to call him a racist is a bit much. I don’t think he meant any harm by that word. Also if we as Blacks or any other race don’t like being called colored (I don’t ) then maybe the NAACP should change their name. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, just saying.

      • Anne tommy says:

        That’s over the top Jenni. I agree language is important but let’s not get carried away- good luck with explaining to someone not attuned to the nuances why people of colour is the preferred term on posts that I’ve seen here recently, but coloured people seems to be grossly offensive. I don’t think Benedicts comments reflects any deeper antagonism on his part and he has apologised fully. I’m no cumberbitch either but leave the guy alone. Today is holocaust Memorial Day btw, at least in the UK and Ireland, that’s a racism that is worth getting worked up about.

      • Kiddo says:

        V4Real, I think retaining the NAACP name as it stood, demonstrates the lengthy history of the organization. I think that’s why the name hasn’t been updated.

      • A says:

        Don’t know. I assumed they kept the name for historical reasons, but the NAACP director said the term is outdated but not offensive a few years back.

      • Kiddo says:

        @A, I don’t know of that director’s quotes, but it would make sense that their title should not be interpreted as offensive, given the context in which they work. I doubt it was a call to bring that term back into the collective lexicon.

      • Janet says:

        Um… No. Speaking as a black person, I can tell you that calling a black person “colored” is not nearly as offensive as calling him the n-word. The latter is deliberately offensive, insulting and disrespectful. Calling a black person “colored” is more like referring to an Asian as an “oriental”‘ which was in widespread use until a few years ago. So I’ll cut Cumby some slack on this.

      • A says:

        @Kiddo–She was defending Lohan’s use of the word and said, “The term ‘colored’ is not derogatory.”

        IDK, I know there are Uk people here, but boy the comments on like the Guardian articles are all over the place on this term over there.

      • @V4Real, Kiddo, JAnet
        From what my mom’s told me (and I guess maybe she heard the explanation when she was young??) the reason why black people wanted to be called “colored” back in the 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s…was because “negro” was too close to “n***er”…..

      • MtnRunner says:

        Cumby is many things such as clueless, gullible, loquacious… but racist? No. He’s a white, privileged actor who slipped up using an archaic word, which happens when one is as cloistered as he is. He’s been schooled and he repented of his error most profusely. Nothing more should be asked of him.

        I hope his black friends will inform him that his Pollyanna-ish statement about the opportunities black actors have in the US isn’t really true. Black actors will continue to be typecast in certain roles and lack the proper representation in cinema and I hope he’s gently shown this truth by those who experience it firsthand.

      • Anne tommy says:

        I’ll add that I think some of the references to benny being a toff, sheltered etc, with the implication that that is why he used the words he did,is a bit off. Some People of all backgrounds, financial, social, educational etc etc would use a hell of a lot worse language than that!

        Shallow me…Talking of posh and privileged- can we have a Mark Ronson post please, he really gets my uptown funk going….

      • Kiddo says:

        Anne tommy, being privileged does not always equate to poshness.

      • Sixer says:

        Anne tommy: I’ll tell you what I, as a Brit, find absolutely infuriating about it. That an insulated, privileged, clearly ignorant white British male can slip up by using a word anyone knows many people will object to, while busily sucking up to an American audience by invoking all the American myths about opportunities for all and playing into further myths about how his own country pales by comparison.

        Without a shred of frickin’ irony.

        On the day he gives a similar interview in the UK in which he stands up for British working class actors (shut out of opportunity by austerity) and doesn’t whine that it’s nothing but posh-bashing and SO UNFAIR when people ask him about it… that is the day I’ll give him a pass.

        He can’t have it both ways. He doesn’t give a toss for the plight of black actors. He just thinks shouting about America being the land of opportunity will make him beloved in America. Well, he f*cked it up and showed a few true ignorant colours. GOOD.

      • MtnRunner says:

        Excellent point, Sixer. I wasn’t even thinking about who his target audience was. Duh. I did think that he was nowhere in the position to postulate how good things were for black actors in the US. Let’s hear from those that actually REPRESENT that particular group of actors.

      • Veronica says:

        I wouldn’t say he’s an outright racist – more like a subconscious one in the way white people often are. He’s a white man of means in a culture whose race issues aren’t always as dramatically overt as they are in the States. Fundamentally, it’s more problematic than if he’d dropped the N-bomb or something similar because it means his prejudices are internalized to such an extent that he isn’t aware of them until they slip out. Very unfortunate, but not entirely surprising given his background.

      • Nikki says:

        Jenni, listen to what he was saying originally! That, and his sincere apology, convince me he is not a racist. (I hate non- apologies that include “if I’ve offended anyone..) .

      • j says:

        Im not trying to be rude, but having actually watched the thing, he never claims the US has great roles for actors of color or implies the us is a land of opportunity

        He just says they are going there to find work. And yeah that is true and something actors of color have been speaking up on. it didn’t come up out of the blue either, earlier on, tavis actually asked him why black uk actors are going for us roles but they got sidetracked

        like basically, yeah, he could have ignored the question, but other than the use of the term, his answer was spot on. this is a thing that is actually happening

      • nikko says:

        Are you a person of color? I am and I’m not offended by it. And his apology was the best I’ve read of late. He’s not a racist. We all say the wrong thing at times.

      • Anne tommy says:

        My point was that racism is found in people from every area of society, and I don’t think his family’s background is very relevant either. Not sure about targeting audiences, and haven’t read all the other stuff that he’s said about being privileged or not. I think he had a verbal stumble and he said sorry. I think maybe the “(s) he who is without sin should cast the first stone” probably applies here.

    • Frosty says:

      In light of the point he was trying to make, it’s so clear he misspoke. End of story.

      • Zwella Ingrid says:

        I don’t like this guy, don’t get his appeal, but don’t hate him either. What I do hate, and what I am totally sick of, is picking apart every single word that comes out of someone’s mouth and deciding what kind of person that they are based on that. Apparently some people can say some words in certain parts of the world, and its ok, whereas other people can’t say the word, and it all matters what color of skin a person has and where they live as to whether or not they can say the word.

        It is just getting absolutely ridiculous. I am sick of it. It’s stupid. It makes me crazy. How about a little context. Obviously the man did not have evil intent. Tired of the stupid micromanaging of language!!!

      • Frosty says:

        I agree with you complete Zwella Ingrid, and I speak as someone of mixed background. The hypervigilence over every word any public person utters is an unhealthy development, imo. Save the uproar for important issues, god knows there are plenty out there.

    • glynda says:

      Is there some type of award that can be given for Best Apology (no Aniston u can’t buy this one either!!)? If so, he deserves it! As an African American woman who thinks he looks like a pale baby pitbull I forgive him. :)

    • laura in LA says:

      Maybe Benedict Cumbersome should take this as a sign to Just. STOP. Talking.

    • Sara says:

      Really? Because he said colored actors? Wow. Talk about an uneven playing field. Black people can discriminate against whites and we can’t label it reverse racism but if someone innocently says colored actors, i.e. actors of color, they’re racist and putrid and must be avoided at all cost.

  2. Claire says:

    Really douche move on his part but he’s said plenty of things in the past that show he’s living in the 1950s in many respects, so are we surprised? I’m not. He needs to stop being so sheltered

    • Loopy says:

      Sorry that is what I was trying to say below, you put it in better words. I can just imagine what type of man his grandfather or great grandfather may have been.

    • BangersandMash says:

      Isn’t the cumberbatch surname some kind of a huge deal. Like, I remember hearing that his mom told him he should change his surname because there’s a lot of history that goes with it, or something like that.

      But other than that… *sigh* I’m sure his ‘coloured actor’ friends Chiwetel and Idris are super stoked to know that that’s probably how he would describe them…. *sigh*
      You got that 1950′s mind on point, Claire!!


      I feel like the ‘other friend’ every time there’s a Bendy post (you know, the friend that seems like she’s hating on your love)…. I roll my eyes and think something crass, like.. ‘When are you breaking up with him?! Seriously… It’s time, let him go.’ or ‘I don’t see it, I don’t get it.’

      • Luca76 says:

        Cumberbatch was a huge slave trading family.

      • Toodles45 says:

        He doesn’t deny his background nor is it something he’s proud of. I’ve seen him say problematic things in the past where I face-palmed but I’ve also seen him speak eloquently on this issue during 12YAS and in interviews when he did Small Island. I choose to see the forest for the trees with this one.

      • BangersandMash says:

        Slave trade aye?!
        That’s a pretty heavy surname to carry, being known for that.

        I’m pretty sure none of that way of archaic thinking seeped into BendyCums. We would have heard something from at least one of his ‘coloured actor’ friends.

      • mazzie says:

        Slave-trading family in Barbados. There are a few black Bajans with the same last name.

      • Felice says:

        His family isn’t even rich anymore. They aren’t carrying the wealth that was gained from it and they aren’t proud of it.

        Maybe he should just go on “Who do you think you are?” so he can actually bury it.

      • Claire says:

        And jamaicans

  3. Kiddo says:

    “It’s an even playing field” is delusional in and of itself. He really bought into American Exceptionalism, didn’t he?

    • original kay says:

      ^^ this

    • Cora says:

      Agree. I would hardly argue that it’s an even playing field in the U.S. There may be more opportunities here, but an even playing field? Oh, no.

    • Claire says:

      Yup. If this hasn’t destroyed his friendship with Lupita I hope she gives him a good talking to

    • Lama says:

      Completely agree. There are issues with his statement even without the inclusion of the word “colored.” An even playing field, really? Especially given the Oscar backlash.

    • Lindy79 says:

      He’d never have said this to an interviewer in the UK. I find more and more he changes his tale depending on who he’s speaking to.

    • Sixer says:

      I have been almost incontinent, laughing at this. It’s such an “oops what a giveaway” comment in every respect. Only the truly ignorant or your (great great) gran would say “coloured”. In Britain, you’re black.

      And he was clearly speaking to curry favour with an American audience – it’s what you guys want to hear about Britain, isn’t it? I don’t think he’s so much bought into exceptionalism as is (pathetically) pandering for popularity points.

      I have a great many thoughts about diversity in British film and TV in comparison to American film and TV. In some ways it’s better and in some it’s worse. But the main reason our actors head stateside is the size of the industry. It might have escaped Ben the Idiot’s notice, but he’s in America. And he’s white. Like many other white Brits.

      • Claire says:

        Yup I can only imagine Tavis giving him serious side eye when he said that

      • t.fanty says:

        You know what’s interesting in the UK/US comparison? British TV does interracial relationships. On US TV, in mainstream shows that are white dominated, you only know the non-white person is getting laid when another non-white person shows up. And while they’re also fairly indiscriminate within non-white races, they would never do white and black together.

      • Kiddo says:

        “Happy Endings”, one of my favorite comedies that somehow got canceled, and yet Two and a Half Men remains (but I digress), prominently featured an interracial couple.

      • KT says:

        There’s interracial couples on US TV.

      • Sixer says:

        @ Fanty. Yes. That’s one thing. We don’t really have the white saviour thing that gets talked about a lot on here either (The Help, etc). Plus, demographics are different. Plus, we have barely any 20+ episode season dramas. Those we do have (Casualty? Holby City? Waterloo Road?) are pretty diverse, as are the soaps. We fall down more in quality drama – a lack of willingess for colour-blind casting in period pieces or to tell diverse stories in high quality series.

        Here’s a list of the British dramas on right now that the Sixer family are recording and watching:

        Broadchurch – main cast black actor – setting is like where I live (98.5% white, like most UK rural areas) so they’ve imported a barrister from London to get some diversity.

        Musketeers – colour-blind casting for Porthos, plus minority roles written in for various episodes, plus colour-blind casting in several episodes for minor characters.

        Last Tango – mixed race main character in same-sex relationship.

        Banana/Cucumber – black leads in both, in inter-ethnic and same-sex relationships.

        Wolf Hall – well, no minorities in Tudorsville.

        Of the 6 series I’m watching, only one is non-diverse. And includes one (Broadchurch) where they’ve clearly made efforts to get diversity in. It could certainly be a lot better. But it could also be worse.

      • LAK says:

        Sixer: OT; love Wolf Hall. I can wait for the next episode. Maybe I should have waited for several weeks then watched the lot on bbc iplayer.

      • Charlie says:

        What I also like about British actors, well, European actors is that they look like regular people. There are far less beauty queens on screens.

      • Sixer says:

        @ LAK – it was mesmerising, wasn’t it? I was half-considering recording the lot and then watching in one go but I didn’t want to miss all the conversations going on. I’ve saved all The Legacy episodes to watch like that, though. It’d better be good!

      • Lilacflowers says:

        He really should just learn to keep quiet. And no, it is not a level-playing field at all. The United States has five times as many people than Great Britain; yet British actors are showing up regularly, far more percentage-wise, in US film and television productions, playing Americans.

      • t.fanty says:

        Kiddo and KT: it’s not even close to how it is done in the UK. Probably because of BBC regulations, I would imagine.

        Sixer: how is Wolf Hall?

      • Sixer says:

        @ Lilac – it’s a handicap for American actors that the global HQ of film and TV is in the US, isn’t it? If you go into any financial business in London (a global centre of that industry), you’ll find every nationality under the sun working there. It’s how it goes when one of your industries goes global.

        @ Fanty – it’s fabulous. Rylance is wonderful. They’ve lifted some of the (witty) dialogue direct from the books and have resisted the temptation to make it move more quickly than the books. They spent £1m+ per episode. In Austerity BBC times.

        BTW – Russell T Davies was talking about getting writers/contributors for Banana-Cucumber-Tofu and how they had to circumvent anti-discrimination rules to get gay writers. They couldn’t ask for gay writers; only writers who would be particularly interested in gay issues. That’s C4 but I imagine it’s the same for everyone.

        Also – inter-ethnic relationships are very common in the UK. Last census reported about a third of non-white Brits in cohabiting relationships were in inter-ethnic relationships. So the TV is representative.

      • Lilacflowers says:

        Yes, Sixer, it does appear to be. HBO shows in particular seem to demonstrate it: True Blood, set in Louisiana, starring a woman from New Zealand, a guy from Australia as her brother, a guy from England as her brother, and a Swede. Throw Denis O’Hare into that mix too. The Wire with Dominic West, Idris Elba, and Aidan Gillan. Sex and the City with Kim Cattral, but elsewhere as well, Hugh Laurie as House, Dominic Cooper and Hayley Awell in Agent Carter and on and on and on.

        Looking forward to Wolf Hall. PBS is now advertising it at the conclusion of each Downton episode so I’m guessing it will be the next Masterpiece series.

      • MtnRunner says:

        Broadchurch is in my Netflix queue. So it’s good, then?

      • icerose says:

        In my dad’s generation using coloured had a touch of superiority it especially when used by wealthy land owning people. It says more about his roots and lack of understanding of USA culture than about racism. But fair do’s he apologised without trying to wheedle out of it and I respect him for that.
        But again it is a typical example of Cumberbatch over simplification .I think stereotyping happens on both sides of the pond but to be fair the last Hollow Crown had Patterson Joseph as the Duke of York and at both Shakespeare productions I have seen at the Donmar there was cast of actors from a variety of races. .
        Not saying we are brilliant but stereo typing happens in both countries and not just racially.

      • Sixer says:

        MtnRunner: Broadchurch is good. Not as good as all the awards would have you believe but it’s a nicely written, well acted, well paced mystery series.

    • Maria says:

      its god own country after all!!!

    • Toodles45 says:

      @Kiddo, it really wasn’t framed like that. I saw the segment. He did not say that Hollywood was an even playing field for actors of color. Tavis asked him about why not only White Brits, but Black Brits “have been taking over”. He said:

      “It seems like you guys are taking over here. What is it in the water over there? Not only white Brits, but black Brits too!” and then mentioned Selma and 12YAS.

      Benedict responded with, “It’s an even playing field. A lot has been made about “you” and “us” but if we pay our dues and our taxes we get to play in your sand pit too. If Meryl Streep can play Margaret thatcher, it’s fair game for us too” or something to that effect. They were laughing about it. He was simply saying that British actors are on par with the American ones. Benedict didn’t frame it like the US is a utopia for black actors. He followed it up with how actors in the movies aforementioned (Ejiofor and Oleweyo) deserve their roles because they live in the US, paid their dues by working for years, have given beautiful performances and acknowledged British actors of color had an easier time finding work in the US because apparently it’s very difficult for them to find roles in the UK and that something needed to be done about that.

      With respect to the word, he’s been rightfully schooled. The use of the term was unfortunate, but I sincerely believed he slipped. Tavis issued a statement saying how “sometimes words get in the way” but he had no doubt Benedict’s heart was in the right place.

    • j says:

      er, no, daily fail there.

      he didn’t say it was a level playing field for black actors. tavis was joking about “you”–uk actors–taking all the us roles, and cumberbatch joked it was a level field, aka brit guys aren’t like doing something dirty to get parts

    • M.A.F. says:

      This what stood out the most for me. It’s not even in the US. Unless you are a white guy, the playing field is not equal regardless of the profession you are in.

      • Toodles45 says:

        @M.A.F, have you watched the segment? no snark, really just asking. Some of the articles circulating are misleading. Benedict did not say that the US was an even playing field for all actors of color, rather that the US is an even playing field for all British actors, white or black, if they pay their dues.

    • Dawn says:

      Right. What I want to know is, why nobody is talking about the BIGGER issue of why his comment is problematic? Never mind the “coloured” misstep, thinking black and white actors in the US are on an even playing field is just laughably naive and stupid. Boy, is this man sheltered.

      • Toodles45 says:

        @dawn, see the comments above. He didn’t say that. He said British actors are in an even playing field with the Americans in response to Tavis saying that the Brits were taking over Hollywood.

  4. Splinter says:

    This color issue is often confusing to me, but then again I live somewhere where you can go for weeks without seing a single black person. Like, why Kim is considered white and Rashida Jones black? Do I have to know people’s ancestry not to offend them? Or do I just shut up and never say anything in fear I might say something wrong?

    • mimif says:

      Ugh. I don’t know whether I should grab some popcorn or suggest you take your own advice with that last sentence.

    • AG-UK says:

      Well for me Rashida Jones from where I live is mixed race, black dad, white mother. My son considers himself mixed race, me black and his dad white (although when he was young he thought it was his star sign ) I am black and over a certain age so I use black to describe myself. I do think in the UK people possibly older but you do hear, oh the coloured guy. When I first moved here someone said that and I thought jeez no one says that now. You would think with his education and just living in a multi-cultural city you would sort of know better but maybe like the person below a bubble, AND he is doing a show in the US would def. work it out. Foot in mouth. I am sure he feels bad he apologized but he might think longer before he speaks next time.

      • Someonestolemyname says:

        But to say mixed race is also racist to some.
        I remember reading about Simon Cowell’s ex, Terri something.
        … parent is African, one parent White, but in UK some would say mixed race and it sounded odd

        When that reporter said to Ashida Jones wow you look tanned where have you been ..and Rashida answered “I’m Ethnic” …..I totally cheered. Rashida was obviously use to dealing with idiots!
        The lady looked like she got it…finally, this is Quincy Jones and Peggy Lipton’s daughter.

        Oprah had shows on seeing colored people on tv for the first time, referring to African Americans. I just think the term is sometimes remembered by people over a certain age.
        I watch old movies and it’s used all through 1950′s, 1960′s and even some 70′s movies, it sounds so odd…but the thing I found interesting is that it’s used in English movies to describe people of Indian heritage, from India…but even in some films the term Black and coloured was used to describe the people from India by the British.

        P.S. splinter, I’ve also had people who told me they truly thought Kim was not white.

      • Lou says:

        My friend is mixed race and her preferred term is ‘coloured’. She’s from Zimbabwe, so it’s a cultural thing. It’s not an evil word everywhere.

        Benedict stuffed up and has now apologised. I think he needs to cut some slack, as the word wasn’t part of a racist comment. If it was, that would be much more of a problem. Everyone makes mistakes.

    • Claire says:

      The latter

      • AG-UK says:

        If in doubt don’t say anything, like the woman saying to Rashida Jones wow her tan is good where have you been?

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      You seem to have missed the point. I suggest you educate yourself about race, and not worry so much about who is “considered white.” And don’t called anyone of any race “colored.” And maybe try to be more sensitive and get out more into the world. Or just stop talking.

      • Loopy says:

        But in South Africa there is a race that want to be called ‘coloured’ , their ancestry goes back to black South Africans and white Europeans who colonized the land.(this is a very brief description)

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        I remember signs on water fountains that said “white” and “colored.” I can’t imagine why anyone would choose to use that term to describe themselves. I would not use it, ever. I can’t. And I wouldn’t recommend that any white person, anywhere, use it either.

      • Splinter says:


        No, I think I got the point – he said something offensive and apologised, but I was thinking how can I avoid being offensive, as there are no clear guidelines what is acceptible to say.
        I really do not worry who is considered white, we are all people, but some people get offended and some don’t. Do you suggest that when I “get out more into the world” I must not talk at all?

      • Kip says:

        I heart you GNAT!

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        Splinter, I don’t know what to tell you. You seem to live in a bubble. It’s hard for me to understand what you are really asking me. Are you asking what term to use when referring to other races? Or are you afraid you will refer to someone as the wrong race? I can only suggest that you never use the term “colored” and maybe just don’t mention race at all. Maybe google “appropriate terms for referring to different races or ethnicities” and read up on it.

      • Splinter says:

        You are very kind. If I ever go to the USA I will surely google that.

      • Lilian says:

        Good names I understand your perspective but as a South African person of color please understand mine. Please don’t diminsh what we choose to call ourselves, a word u precieve as being negative is in fact something we are proud of. Different countries, cultures and even religions just see things differently.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        Lilian, you’re right, of course. I should have said that I just couldn’t utter the word myself, because it has so much negative meaning to me, without the judgment about people choosing to be called whatever they want. I’m sorry.

      • moodgirl says:

        @Splinter – No one is safe any more. As a person of color, I don’t understand why what Benedict said is such a big issue. I believe it was a slip of the tongue and he meant no harm, however, in this politically correct atmosphere that we live in there’s always someone who must be offended or their day is incomplete.

        Once a slip of the tongue or unintentional slight is revealed the pc committee appears, because we know that there is a pc committee for every area of life, and they will rant and hoop and hollar about how offended they are and how awful the person is who made the slip and how he needs to lose his house and business because the easily offended have been offended even though they stay offended twenty four hours a day, every day of the year.

        I find it odd that the poc’s who responded to this thread were less offended than others. I can’t live my life looking for slips of the tongue or perceived slights, I just overlook silly stuff and keep moving. Save your breath for the big stuff.

      • Toodles45 says:

        @moodgirl, I too am a person of color (latina of mixed race) and although I acknowledge that the use of term is problematic, I believe he meant well but slipped. I watched the segment, understood the context and the nature of the convo so I didn’t take offense. The intent is what matters most. It needed to be brought to his attention that the choice of phrase could offend people, but I wouldn’t shoot him down for using the wrong phrase (honestly, its pretty low on the offensive scale compared to insults I’ve personally been dealt) Honest mistakes and genuine apologies go hand in hand, IMO.

        Not giving free reign for anyone to say offensive things, but I echo your sentiments about choosing your battles, to be quite honest.

    • Kiddo says:

      Why not come out of cloistering and meet some people who aren’t exactly like you?

      • mimif says:

        OR, move to the top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere and not see any person of any color for weeks on end. #problemsolved

      • Kiddo says:

        Or ANY people, for that matter.

      • mimif says:

        +1💫🍸 Yes, exactly what I meant.

      • Anne tommy says:

        Some of the most racist people live in areas with great ethnic diversity. The racist political parties in the UK score best in East London and Essex and in northern english towns where there are a high proportion of people with backgrounds from the Indian subcontinent, particularly Bangladesh. The fact that someone lives in an area of little ethnic diversity does not mean they are somehow predisposed to racism, and I think Splinter was just asking a question. I hate discrimination on any grounds, it is vile, but – not getting at anyone in particular – some of the indignation here is a bit unnecessary. Let’s just try and treat everyone with respect while at the same time Being able to Have a good bitch about them.

    • Claire says:

      How’s this: people are what they identify as. Is that too hard? Rashida is mixed race and light. Not all mixed people are dark.

      • Someonestolemyname says:

        I’ve always hated the term mixed race it sounds racist, in a way too.
        I usually only hear that in the UK, not U.S.

        Splinter, I spent hours in a Beverly Hills salon one day, listening while women of several ethnicities argued over what Kim was….

      • Toodles45 says:

        @Someonestolemyname, really? I’m Latina of mixed race and it doesn’t bother me. I usually self-identify w/ my ethnicity but if someone asked me to describe my race, I would say mixed or bi-racial since I look racially ambiguous and of course you can’t know someone’s ethnicity right off the bat if they are of mixed race.

        I’m also of the mentality of calling a spade a spade (if you’re white, you’re white, if you’re black you’re black), as long as its not said in a disrespectful manner.

    • Amy says:

      You could try talking to people, listening to what they say and respecting them rather than treating their race like a troublesome issue for you to wince through painfully with.

      Or even use this handy tool called the Internet to research and find out for yourself through the many millions of discussions which exist on the topic.

      You’re welcome.

    • BangersandMash says:

      I’m laughing at you cause you either will or have gotten BASHED for that ignorance that’s coming out here, Splinter.

      Let’s not call anyone of color, ‘coloured’, how bout that.

      Girl, your question is… (and I’m assuming this from your statement) every skin tone and racial characteristics should be put in their perfect places… and if it doesn’t look like or talk like…, you don’t get it?!

      Good luck with that

    • minime says:

      I think that maybe to understand @Splinter we also have to open ours minds and understand about other people and cultures. Maybe I got it wrong but I think Splinter is referring to a language problem. Direct translation sometimes might bring you into problems. In my Latin speaking country per instance, people prefer to refer to themselves with the word corresponding to the N-word than to be called “black” (and mostly everyone abominates “people of color”). An English speaking person that wouldn’t know about this and would just apply what is acceptable in their country would be offending without really meaning it. I have seen a bunch of differences on what is acceptable from within Europe to Africa and USA and sometimes it can really be confusing. I’m honestly always happy when people can school me on that and I’m always afraid when I change between languages.

      As for Cumberbatch I can’t really assess how much should he know better about the usage of this word but by the British commenters sounds like pretty much. At least his apology sounds heartfelt and assumes the huge mistake, not like the common “if anyone felt offended by my words”…

      • moodgirl says:

        Wow. The “N” word is the only word that sort of wrankles me but I am even getting over that. Really, for me it’s sticks and stones. As long as you don’t shoot at me you’re good.

      • Splinter says:


        Thank you. I am not sure if that was language or a cultural thing, but it is true that in my language “black” would be considered kinda derogatory and the actual term for a black person is derived from the scientific antropological term “negroid”. To my ear “person of color” does not sound that different from a “coloured person” and in translation they both come across as less harsh than “black”.
        What can I say, it is good that we don’t have to state our race here. Our shade of black can be seen from the passport photo and nobody can be offended by that.

      • solanacaea (Nighty) says:

        Oh, cultural aspects of languages… let’s consider the portuguese language for you girls to get an idea, you have black – preto and then you have n-word – negro… calling a person preto (black) in Portuguese is offensive…
        I will say “um cinto preto – a black belt” , but the word preto (black) can never be used when referring to a person. When referring to people, the correct form in Portuguese is “uma pessoa negra – a n- person”.
        Of course I know one should never say the n-word in English and I teach that to my students, but at younger ages, 12, 13, 14 years, when they’re learning the language, it is confusing for them,or even for people who don’t speak Englsih very fluently, they just make a rough literal translation, which may cause problems … So sometimes,certain words are used without actually knowing their “true” meaning…

  5. Loopy says:

    The irony of this is amazing. But i honestly think that people with his upbringing and background probably speak like this behind closed doors, not necessarily to be racist but to a large extent still leaving in a bubble of past generations.

    • perplexed says:

      I’m surprised he used the term because of his age. Isn’t he only 38?

      • Ann says:

        His family got their wealth through owning slaves and his mother told him not to use his real family name because descendants of slaves could ask for reparations.
        They have their priorities straight.

      • WardLittell says:

        As a Brit, I could envisage a sudden brainfreeze just before speaking of black actors in that interview. That is: at home, never thinking twice about ‘black,’ but suddenly doubting its current acceptability over in the US, and remembering ‘POC’ might be better, and then ballsing it all up with the term he probably used as a boy. I’d be very loth to rate him as racist for this. He needs to actually use, rather than just read about, preferred terminology outside GB.. But to repeat, I think he offended out of over-complicating an attempt to avoid giving offence.

      • An says:

        You can’t get reparations from a person, it’s by country; and his family ‘wealth’ dwindled considerably, as it what often happens after a couple of centuries.

        Funnily enough, UK actors in his situation do usually change their name so it’s never acknowledged.

        That being said, what he said is spot on: POC only represent around 5% of the UK industry currently. Too bad it got buried in his terrible word choice.

        I should note my family has a notorious murderer in it, so obviously, I can’t be trusted around people.

      • gg says:

        He is 38 but his parents are 76 and 80; it sounds like a word that he got from them. And we only have the tabloids to go on for that reparations story. Doesn’t it seem more likely that “Benedict Cumberbatch” is a ridiculous name for an actor and THAT is why he was advised to change it? He started out as Ben Carlton, apparently. So not only was he going to ditch the Cumberbatch but the Benedict, too.

    • Applapoom says:

      Unfortunately I have to say you could be right. I know some people Harrow and other schools and they seem to think the british empire is still in its former glory. I have worked with lots of lovely brits but a lot of these public schoolboys (and girls) are really pompous. I really gave one of them a big talking to about the way he spoke about ethnic minorities. We used to have a live in nanny and his wife said “oh she is very good, does she know how to look after western children?” Dude, our kids are mixed race, not aliens! Our relationship is decidedly chilly now.

    • Mary-Alice says:

      I don’t have his background or upbringing, I’m simply European and can’t understand the US obsession with terms. In my world, since people are equal indeed, black people are simply black people, just like white people are white people. All are colors. “People of color” sounds so pretentious. It’s getting tired quickly and will backlash big time.

    • moodgirl says:

      You would be amazed at what people say behind closed doors, especially the people who claim to be offended by what others say in public.

  6. vauvert says:

    While this is just one more incident of his recent bout of foot in the mouth disease, I do give him credit for issuing an intelligent and seemingly sincere apology. It was not one of those half baked idiotic, I am sorry but… That most celebs would come up with. It was eloquent, articulate and humble. And I do believe he is sincere in how he feels about more diverse representation in film….

  7. savu says:

    I get that it’s a really outdated and offensive way to describe people of color… I feel like it’s a little blown out of proportion. Like DAMN that is a dramatic apology. It’s important we talk about the subtle aspects of race relations like this, but I speak on TV for a living and sometimes you just have a brain fart. I don’t even like the dude, but it’s like okay man, you tried, we get it. Stupid mistake, thank you for acknowledging it, move on.

    • Maria says:

      i feel the same way about his apology, it makes it feel fake, too. “i am devastated”, really benny? how do you feel when you run over someone with a car? what word do you use then?

    • Toodles45 says:

      Well, I’m sure he knows people are dragging him for it. The media will have a field day with it, especially now that his slave trading ancestry is being brought up and tying it in with his misuse of the term, which IMO, is unfair.

  8. LAK says:

    I am genuinely flummoxed that a non SA person would refer to anyone as coloured.

    I am also genuinely flummoxed that anyone of our generation, not an old foggy, would refer to anyone as coloured.

    And please don’t blame it on his schooling, or background or whatnot. The term ‘coloured’ isn’t in everyday usage in Britain, and I’ve lived in counties where we were the only blacks in the village!!

    • Guesto says:

      @LAK – I share your flummoxed. How is that term even in his vocabulary?

      I’m afraid it does say something about him that no apology can change or paper over.

    • Kim1 says:

      What is non SA?

    • inthekitchen says:

      I agree. It’s also somewhat interesting to me that he said this to a black person! This shows me that this IS a word he uses frequently, otherwise he’d know better.

      I’m also curious as to: if this is such a passionate issue for him, why doesn’t he speak out to white news outlets about it? And, does he push for more diverse casting in his movies? He’s pretty big now so you’d think he could have some input in who gets cast opposite him, etc.

      Overall I just really don’t get his appeal – his face is almost repulsive to me (fetus face (TM)!!) and he seems so phony, personality-wise. I’ve only seen him in a few things, so granted, perhaps I am missing the best, most amazing performances of this generation…but I don’t think so. And now this? Yeah…not impressed with Cumby.

      • Toodles45 says:

        I don’t believe its a word he frequently uses honestly. And I agree, his background is no excuse. But I saw the segment and his intention was clear. If Tavis, a no-nonsense rights advocate, sensed ignorance from him I believe he would have rightfully called him on it. I honestly believe he was trying for the right word and slipped in that moment. Good on him for acknowledging it and apologizing.

    • Loopy says:

      As I mentioned above in South Africa there is a race of people who still call themselves coloureds, they don’t want to be called white, they don’t want to be called black. Many generations have passed to the point where they have created their own ‘race’ I don’t know if that the way to put it, its a very sensitive topic.

      • LAK says:

        Loopy, Your explanation is the reason I am flummoxed by his usage of the term.

        As far as I know, i’m not a beeny fan and have only seen ATONEMENT, he doesn’t live in South Africa nor has spent a great deal of time there so that his use of the term is very wierd.

        ‘Coloured’ is a term used by British people as far back as WW2. I’d be surprised if his own parents used that term, but not his grandparents, does that make sense?

        In Britain, during the Afro-Caribbean post- war Windrush immigration, the signs posted in places read ‘no Blacks, no Irish’ which speaks to language usage in Britain in the 1950s.

        The term ‘coloured’ as I was taught it, and heard it’s usage in Africa and Britain, is SA specific and for very specific reasons. It wasn’t until I started to learn about the USA later in life that I learnt the context of it’s usage there.

        What could he have been thinking to go to ‘coloured’ when for all intents and purposes he lives in London, one of the more multi-cultural cities in the world.

        Frankly, there are terms he could use to describe various ethnicities that wouldn’t surprise me, but ‘coloured’?!

      • an says:

        @LAK: His parents are near 80. They’re like grandparents LOL.

      • Sixer says:

        @ LAK – there was a brief period in the UK when some people felt coloured was the better term to use – probably a hangover from black being used in derogatory ways (like the “no blacks, no Irish” signs you mention). Think Alf Garnett. But it was swiftly knocked on the head. It could be something you could forgive your granny for saying.

      • Lilacflowers says:

        To the issue of his parents being near 80, I share my home with an 86 year old relative. Sure, she used that term. In the 1950s. She would never use it now. Ever. She may be an advanced elder but she keeps pace with the world around her, well, except for her refusal to use the internet and her ability to destroy a cellphone within hours. There is no excuse for a 38 year old, wealthy man living in one of the most diverse cities in the world not to do the same. It isn’t as if he is sheltered in some sort of world of elite academia or world finance. The acting world is comprised of all sorts of people from all sorts of places from all sorts of classes. When he’s working, does he have no relationship whatsoever with the crew? If I recall, he did choose to isolate himself from the rest of the cast and crew when he was here filming Black Mass. Going so far as to sit by himself at the bar at Sonsie watching World Cup. In Boston, nobody sits alone at a bar to watch a sporting event – we all watch together, even if you don’t even speak the same language as the people watching with you.

      • j says:

        he hangs with crew–did so in boston, just not all the time. same with a:oc, etc. heck his irl bestie is a last enemy crew dude

      • Lilacflowers says:

        @j, the Black Mass cast and crew did lots of things as a group when they were here, attended multiple concerts, including the Boston Calling festival, and Red Sox games and ate out at restaurants together but his involvement with all that was extremely limited – he had one dinner in the North End, followed by cannolis at Modern, with a few crew members, did a tour of Fenway Park with some of the actors but only attended one game (okay, maybe he doesn’t like baseball) and did a tour of the BPL with Joel Edgerton but otherwise was not with them on their many other excursions and kept to himself, even spending multiple nights and weekends parked at the bar at Sonsie alone. As I said above, watching sports in a bar in Boston is never a solitary event, you join in even if you don’t know the people around you.

        And again, there really is no excuse for him using such outdated and insensitive terminology. His apology, however, was well done.

    • That’s what’s weird to me too, especially since he’s traveled around and doesn’t live in a bubble. The people where I live are pretty ignorant, so some of the “older” people i.e. 50s and 60s have used the word “colored” in reference to us i.e. my family (and yeah, they’re a *cough* little racist), but the only other person I’ve ever heard used colored is my neighbor Mr. C (who’s 93)…..I told him one day that I was “colored” (to see how he’d react, because I’m pale as a ghost, and didn’t have my dreadlocks then), and his reaction was to talk about his granddaughter, who married her HS sweetheart (who’s black) and he LOVES him (dude fixes stuff for him every time they come and visit)…so I guess that was his way of saying that he didn’t care, lol.

  9. Lindy79 says:

    Oooof! Oh dear. Nope it’s not ok, not in Ireland or the UK and hasn’t been for quite some time (I’m only 4 years younger than Bendy)
    Agree that he was doing good in speaking about a lack of diversity but that word is just a no. He’s a supposed intelligent guy who is well travelled, he should know that.
    He doesn’t deserve to be villified about it though and I do think his apology is 100% sincere.

    I also don’t agree with him basically saying there are better opportunities in the US, the US is a much bigger country with a much larger audience and industry but it isn’t perfect by a long shot.

    (also, this was the guy who played Khan and the movie got a LOT of heat for that, so you’d imagine he’d be more aware of the issue of the lack of diversity, and yes I know the casting wasn’t his fault.)

    • inthekitchen says:

      Excellent point about playing Khan!! Yes, Cumby, a good starting place to help with diversity in movies is to stop taking parts made for people of color! (I’m shouting that in my head but don’t want to use all caps.)

      • Lindy79 says:

        Well, I don’t know if it makes me naive but I do believe him when he said he was told the part was John Harrison until he was hired, however there was a lot of talk about it after the fact, hell even John Cho gave some snark about it during the press tour.
        Maybe his PR shield him from everything, (they shouldn’t as it could have been asked and he needed to be prepared) but the guy has admitted he’s done online searches and he seems like he does a lot of research so I’d be shocked if that all went past him.

      • inthekitchen says:

        Who is John Harrison? TIA.

      • Lindy79 says:

        The character that he told everyone he was playing to keep the characters identity of Khan secret (its also a fake name used by Khan in the movie). It failed but he and JJ Abrams said he was cast under the name of John Harrison and he found out after he’d accepted the role it was actually Khan.

        My point is that I never felt that casting decision was Benedict’s fault.

      • KT says:

        You’re not naive, Lindy79. Actors take chances signing blind all the time, on faith in the director.

    • MtnRunner says:

      It’s not just Khan. Was Dr Strange written as a Caucasian male? Regardless, he happily signed on to a franchise that is known for being male and white-centric. Correct me if I’m wrong, but in the Marvel universe, non-white or female actors only get supporting roles. Marvel’s lack of diversity isn’t Ben’s fault, but in these two roles, he exemplifies the problem.

  10. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    I’m surprised and disappointed that anyone would use that expression, but I grew up in the South during the 60s and 70s, so it has a lot of meaning and negative associations to me. I’m glad he apologized in what seemed a sincere manner.

    • TEE JAY says:

      I was a little dIsappointed as well. My deceased parents occasionally told us stories about worda used and thrown at them when they lived in the deep south. While I don’t feel Cumberbatch intended to be offensive, It’s curious to me what kind of social education he experienced growing up because his ignorance at 38 confuses me. He comes across to me as if he grew up in a weird social bubble. His apology was kind and sufficient in my mind. I haven’t been a fan for a long while but I do hope he learns from this.

  11. Maria says:

    its the good old euphemism treadmill. people will read that anti racism statement in a few years and be offended as heck, too. i hope they will apologize too then.
    there is no way someone can stay up to date with every new PC term. its about the context and the motivation. Cumberbatch obviously had a good intention as you can see from the context he used the word. so its really silly to attack him for that and force such a blowhard apology.

    • Nya says:

      The world “colored” hasn’t been acceptable for decades.

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      Are you kidding me?

    • Ms.LadyMadame says:

      But the thing is…this isn’t a new development. Anyone who knows at least *something* about race relations in the world knows that “colored people” has been used to other, dehumanize, and demean people with darker skin. It’s a really old term that has been considered offensive for a while.

      Also, intention isn’t magical. Intention doesn’t make something less racist or offensive, much like intention doesn’t make that cat I ran over less dead.

    • Claire says:

      Oh shush

    • MeloMelo says:

      It seems like you’re walking on eggshells when talking about anything these days.

      I didn’t get offended when I read that, but then again, I’m not from the US or UK so what do I know?

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        Can you read? Have you ever picked up a history book? Ever heard of slavery? Racism? I can’t believe the ignorant comments on this thread. I’m out of here.

      • Lindy79 says:

        I’m not from the US or UK and I went “ooooh no” when I read it, likewise for friends from mainland Europe.

      • moodgirl says:

        Are we ever going to get past slavery?

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        I was trying to relate the term to it’s history. Sorry to bore you.

      • MeloMelo says:

        I’m sorry, but for when I’m from ‘coloured’ is not used often but people don’t get offended about it, they just find it silly. It’s different everywhere.
        And actually, slavery was a thing here as well, but we arent so PC about everything.

        I just think it’s silly to go all over BC for this slip, it doesn’t seem like he was trying to be offensive at all.

      • moodgirl says:

        GNAT – My point about slavery is that some people blame everything problem they have today on slavery. We blame our problems on history. We never blame our problems on us. Do we still have active racism in the US? Goodness yes. Have millions of people been able to work hard and move ahead in life despite our history? Yes. You can’t move ahead if you keep looking backwards.

    • Amy says:

      Read: I don’t want to be offended by this as it doesn’t effect me personally. I think all this ‘respecting’ people is silly anyway. So what if I called you a racially insulting term?

      Sheesh…do you also go for weeks without seeing black people? That seems like a popular excuse.

      • MP says:

        I also live in a country which is about 95% white. When I was a kid just 20-something years ago there was no discussion going on about racially sensitive words because we didn’t really need them. Now that we’ve had growing immigration from Africa and Asia we’ve had to start thinking whether the words we use are ok or insulting.
        I know which words in my language are rude or racially offensive but I’m not sure of all the English words especially if there are words that are ok in some parts of the world and insulting in others.
        It is something I sometimes worry about. Telling people to go online and look is not very helpful when there are different views on just this site. One reason why I like to read this site is that I’ve learned a lot of things I didn’t have any idea before. Like wearing native American headpiece; I didn’t know it was insulting.
        Just because people are not familiar with some things doesn’t automatically mean they are ignorant or live in a bubble. Countries, cultures and histories vary and I’m sure we’ve had some American tourists who have managed to do or say something which is considered insensitive here.
        I believe everybody should do their best to be polite but also to give others the benefit of the doubt.

    • mazzie says:

      “New PC term”

      Coloured as a term in North America hasn’t been used in decades. Decades. It’s considered pejorative by many.

    • Veronica says:

      “Colored” has been an offensive term in the United States for decades. It’s not a recent change by any means, so trying to pull the “THIS CULTURE IS TOO PC” BS doesn’t really work here. We are still responsible for our language irregardless of our intent.

  12. BendyWindy says:

    Hmm. All the Brits I’ve interacted with told me that “coloured” isn’t considered bad in the UK, so I’ve always chalked this up to cultural differences. I’m not bothered by what he said. Truthfully, I wouldn’t be bothered by an American saying the same. I’d think it’s a little backwater and old-fashioned, but unless you’re throwing around some true slurs, it’s not something I’d be getting riled up about.

    That said, it seems like he issued a sincere, well though out apology. Apology accepted, Ben.

    • mandygirl says:

      This. I think he is genuinely sorry.

    • Nya says:

      Then all the Brits you’ve interacted with are probably racists from the countryside.

    • 'P'enny says:

      no one uses that expression in Britain.

      • KT says:

        That’s what people keep saying, but there is a ton of confusion evident in posts from UK residents on articles about this. It’s like they’re mixing it up with “people of colour.”

        That being said, it wasn’t making huge waves until he apologized. I would have told him to keep his mouth shut on it–[from a PR perspective, we're not the force for ethics.]

      • LAK says:

        Wink1970: where did you live in the 80s?

        We lived in the countryside in the 80s, and NO ONE ever referred to us as coloured. 99% of the time, we were the only black family in the village, and everyone called us black not coloured.

        I know from time to time, the various councils will have a zealous drive to be more PC and guidelines are issued etc, but I can honestly say I never heard the word ‘coloured’ used in reference to us unless it was an ancient sozzled Dowager duchess who wanted to reminisce about her time as a girl in Africah/Indiah.

      • wink1970 says:

        Hi LAK

        I mostly lived in a Labour-controlled northern town that also happened to have a high proportion of non-white citizens. We had a famously ‘loony left’ council, and they did indeed issue guidance to schools etc like the one I refer to in my other post, mostly I think to avoid being seen as part of the ‘old guard’. In fact their guidelines mostly caused confusion and resentment and stirred racial tension, in my opinion.

      • Aeryn39 says:

        Hi everyone! I haven’t posted in ages – new job doesn’t allow any non work stuff. But I had to ask a question on this so posting from my phone. I’m 41. Black. American. I spent my junior year at the University of Bristol in western England. I was in the dining hall of my student residence at the beginning of the school year and was asked by another student to join a “colored” student union. I remember being confused and saying, I’m Black, because, as an American, i was kind of offended but also sensitive to The fact that maybe there was some cultural differences at play i wasn’t aware of. The other student appeared to be southeast Asian, but I wasn’t like, so umm where are you from. But I distinctly remember him saying to me, you’re not Black, you’re Brown like me (I’m about the same skin tone as Rashida Jones). Not wanting to start an argument my first week I took down the info about the meeting and said thanks. Maybe he was SA?? Then later that term, my social history lecturer used the term in class. Since I have no poker face, he noticed my reaction and asked me to talk to him after lecture. He made it seem like Black was offensive in circles at Bristol and colored was appropriate. Being really nervous and confused I was like, okay. Whatever. Naturally, I managed to avoid using either term unless unavoidable (mainly because I rarely describe people based on color (not that I’m a being holier than thou, I’m just more likely to describe someone like “the non attractive dude who wears crap khakis every Friday” because I fess up to being superficial). So, my question is – were the folks at Bristol feeding me a load of crap to cover for their own shady ways??? I really liked that lecturer. Loved his class and still have my paper I wrote for him two decades later!!! I’m rethinking so much right now…

    • ell says:

      i’m a brit, and i can tell you this is not true. it’s something old&ignorant people would use.

      • wink1970 says:

        I’m also a Brit, and old (44) but I am not ignorant. However, when I was growing up we were told to use ‘coloured’ not ‘black’ ; in fact I was once nearly expelled for using ‘black’ in relation to someone’s skin colour as it was considered inflammatory. My school was in a largely-non-white area.

        I appreciate times have changed, and the current generation use ‘people of colour’ instead, and maybe he should have known that. The willingness to flame rather than educate is very telling, however.

      • ell says:

        @wink1970: “The willingness to flame rather than educate is very telling”. he’s a person in the public eye, so he should know better. besides, as I already mentioned in another comment, this isn’t the first time he makes ignorant/elitist/racist comments. he’s incredibly out of touch with anything that isn’t his white, posh, privileged bubble. he’s worse than goop.

      • wink1970 says:

        LOL at ‘worse than Goop’. Poor chap, what an insult!

        I get / agree with your point, by the way. It’s a sad mistake to make – I too am upper middle class, white & privileged (and in a bubble, by my own admission) but even I know that the correct terminology has changed. I’m just trying to make the point that (a) a lot of people have thrown the word ‘racist’ at him and that’s a huge accusation, and (b) it’s not inconceivable that he has indeed grown up in an environment where ‘coloured’ is a term that is/has been used without malice, and for that he should be educated rather than castigated.

      • Toodles45 says:

        I actually don’t think “coloured” is a word often said in his environment in this day and age. I think he was trying for the correct term and genuinely slipped. As a person of color, I don’t think he is racist nor will I skewer him for misusing the word because I understood the intent. But I’m glad offered his apology and that he’s now more aware than ever that term is inappropriate.

      • Veronica says:

        win1970 – He’s speaking primarily to an American audience, though, and if you want to partake in American cinema, you have to be aware of the culture you are dealing with. Colored has been an offensive term for awhile now, so dropping it in conversation these days isn’t considered acceptable. I honestly don’t think he meant harm by it, but it does point to a kind of racial privilege of which he’s not keenly self-aware.

      • moodgirl says:

        @Wink – Forty-four is the new twenty.

    • Icy blue says:

      All the British people you know must be either racists or in their late 70s , or a figment of your imagination. No one else says coloured in this here metropolitan UK cities for the most part. Black is what we say. Black is what we are. Or ethnic minorities. Never coloured.

      • wink1970 says:

        Icy Blue
        There’s a very interesting article here about the 1980s and the use of the word ‘black’. It’s a sad fact that my generation, growing up then (and I’m 44 not 74) were subjected to stupid council-driven exercises to ban the word ‘black’ in any context. Some of the stories about banning ‘ba ba black sheep’ (see article) were tabloid fantasy, but the reality behind them was lists of ‘correct’ words that later became unpalatable, and lists of ‘incorrect’ words that are now the norm. In whole counties, in the 1980s, ‘black’ was a banned word in any context within official documentation, school guidelines etc.

    • SunnyD says:

      Agree with all the Brits (I’m British/ Irish) saying this is an outdated term that is not in general usage. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it in a book/ drama set in the post-war 1940s/ 1950s – I’m thinking of something like Small Island. However It doesn’t surprise me that someone from an upper middle class background/ upper class background would use it.

    • icerose says:

      I think that any one who knows anything about history knows that coloured has been used to denote superiority. I think he recognised that it was the wrong word to use and faced up to it but some of his fans seemed determined to make excuses for him.
      I am older than Benny and have lived on both sides of the ocean and I did grow up hearing it used but I know enough about racial politics to know it is not acceptable.

  13. scout says:

    Goncho needs to shut up and sit down now, he has been blabbing so much these days that it was just matter of time he would put his foot in his mouth and…..he did it!
    How about collective “colored” people bitch slap you next time they see you, ready…3..2..1

  14. Luca76 says:

    I’m sure he is sorry, I don’t think he is someone that hates minorities or knowingly discriminates but that term is just so dated . Considering his family history of slave owning and how blue his blood is it just puts him in a specific light and makes him look obtuse.

  15. t.fanty says:

    I’m sure that every non-white actor he now knows is dreading the inevitable moment he calls with a half-hour, self-flagellating apology that is all about how stressful this is for him.

    I also look forward to his next interview in which he over-compensates by telling us how many African Princes he knew at Harrow.

    • Lindy79 says:

      You just know they have him on Block now.

    • Sixer says:

      HA! Yes. And how his cousin at Sandhurst knows plenty too!

      • t.fanty says:

        He loves black people! His great grandfather loved them so much that he owned hundreds!

      • Sixer says:

        And then he gets a clip round the ear from Wanda because REPARATIONS!

      • Claire says:

        He has acousin at sandhurst does he?

      • Sixer says:

        No idea. It’s a mocking stereotype, Claire.

      • LAK says:

        Claire: it’s a joke around the fact that African, Asian and Arab royal families have been sending their kids to Eton, Harrow and Sandhurst for centuries.

        It’s the posh equivalent of claiming you can’t be racists since you have black friends. In this case, saying he or a family member went to school (Benny is Harrow) with an African Prince or a cousin at Sandhurst with same and that should absolve him of any such charges.

      • icerose says:

        and his best friend at Eton who actually said a very similar thing but avoided country comparisons, used black and framed it in stereo typing and class structure.

    • jinni says:

      Thank you so much for this. It’s been getting pretty annoying reading all of these comments going on about how he just didn’t know any better because he grew up too privileged so everyone should give him a break. They’re acting like he was born in ’33, or like English is his second language, or like he grew up in an isolated religious cult that had no contact with the outside world. He should have known better. The word shouldn’t even have been in his vocabulary considering how young he is. And if he did grow up around racist (wouldn’t be shocked considering his mother was so worried about the descendants of his family’s former slaves coming back to ask for what rightfully belongs to them since it was their ancestors that actually did the work) he is old enough to have learned better now and get with the program that certain words aren’t to be used.

      I’ll give him this, at least he didn’t give a half-assed apology.

    • j.eyre says:

      I am looking forward to the backbends he will go through to somehow relate this whole thing back to Sherlock.

      • t.fanty says:

        Mark Gatiss is now being forced to write an episode where Sherlock travels abroad and frees a village of non-white children who have been forced into slavery. Cumby helpfully suggested watching Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom as inspiration.

      • Gracie says:

        @t.fanty, haha! Be careful with what you wish for. They might just take you up on that.

      • icerose says:

        this just brings me back to one of Mark’s best tweets, When asked if Tom was coming out during the Coriolanus run he replied I am out but Tom is not gay,
        Perhaps he can come up with something equally as witty for Ben when Sherlock meets a black Indiana Jones.

  16. Dana says:

    Raging case of verbal diarrhea….

  17. greenmonster says:

    When I was 15, there was a song by Tongue Forest called “You got the nerve” and that was the first time I realised how wrong the expression “colored” is.

  18. DavidBowie says:

    I can’t wait for the Oscars to come and go along with this guy. I just don’t understand the appeal.

  19. lola says:

    The word idiot to describe him recently (since summer last year) is not unfitting, is it. I hope this side of him leaves soon and for good.

  20. aang says:

    Rolling my eyes at the PC police. We all know what he was saying so please give the guy a break.

    • Ann says:

      These damn blacks, can’t they let us call them the way we want./sarcasm

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        I know. SO much trouble to use PC terms. I feel so sorry for white people.

      • Ann says:

        PC is used as an insult now. Trying not to hurt and insult people is a liberal commie agenda.
        They are pissed off all their slurs are taken away from them.

      • aang says:

        So goodnames what word should we use? Some of my friends hate being called black, and prefer African American. Others say “I’ve never even been to Africa so don’t call me African American.” While those from Africa I know don’t mind being called black or African, or Nigerian or Kenyan. Colored just seems descriptive, if outdated, to me. My skin IS colored if you compare me to whites. I don’t care if you call me Indian or Native American but some Native’s will hate you if you call them Indian. I look for intent when dealing with this kind of thing. How about “persons who do not express a phenotype common to north western europeans”? Until we stop making the distinction we need to have conversations that are not immediatly hijacked by people looking for offense. It takes our attention from the issues that matter. I will continue to roll my eyes now.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        Aang, roll your eyes all you want. I try to listen to what people are saying about how they want to be identified because I think it IS an important issue. Most groups of minorities, or people of color, or women have historically had no voice in the way they were referred to. They have suffered indignity, harassment, hatred, discrimination, and even been in physical jeopardy because of who they are. They are trying to take back their power, and part of that is identifying who they are and what they want to be called. I want to comply with their wishes. I disagree that it’s about looking for offense. I think it’s about asking for respect.

    • mazzie says:

      Dang, that’s me told.

      Eff off.

    • tifzlan says:

      “The PC Police” you mean addressing people respectfully and not using outdated terms that are associated to, oh, i don’t know, things like Jim Crow and whatnot?

      I agree with Mazzie. Eff off.

      • aang says:

        I mean giving someone the benefit of the doubt. I mean listening to what a person has to say instead of picking apart the way they say it. So many good coversations get lost that way. It is getting to point where everything offends someone. I happen to be of mixed race, and while colored is not the term I choose to describe myself I don’t find it to be a terrible slur. My skin is in fact colored, a beautiful shade a reddish brown. By hijacking his intent inorder to create an offence that was not implied or intended is giving the word way more meaning than it deserves. If we could act like grownups about it we could reclaim many words for our vocabulary. The same reason I find no offense with your vulgarity. It is a common term used when thoughts can not be articulated in an illegent manner.

      • tifzlan says:

        I think it’s great that you are not offended by his use of the term ‘colored’ but there are plenty of other people that do not feel the same way you do. Intent doesn’t really matter when you say something and offend people in the process. Benedict is not 95 years old, there is no excuse for him to use a term that has not been in use for decades now. Was that articulate enough for you?

      • Sixer says:


        I think the key (particularly if you are not a person that experiences a particular type of discrimination) is to be aware and alert and avoid using terms that may offend a *significant number* of people. It’s not hard. Nobody thinks *everyone* will be offended. Nobody cares if you *don’t* use a particular word but many people may if you *do*. So don’t.

  21. Kim1 says:

    Much ado about nothing.
    He used an outdated term , he apologized.I would be offended if he used the N word.I hear the word Colored occasionally from elderly Black and White people here in Houston.It is outdated but I don’t find it offensive.

    • aang says:

      Thank you for being reasonable.

    • chaine says:

      Yeah, I agree. Definitely a slip-up, but probably unintended.

      In junior high, I once used the term “colored people” in a paper I wrote for social studies class because the books in the school library that I had used as my sources were very outdated and used that term. I had heard my parents use the phrase “the blacks” at home, and I kind of thought at that time that “colored people” sounded more polite.

      Anyway, after he handed back our papers, the teacher, who was black, took me aside and very nicely told me that I should not use “colored people” in the future, as it is old-fashioned and might offend someone. It was definitely a learning moment for me. I was embarrassed and worried that I might have offended him, even though he was very nice about it, and I have always remembered that incident. My cheeks get pink just thinking about it even now. I expect Mr. Cumberbatch feels the same way, except much MUCH worse.

    • bjesgirl says:

      Yeah. I’m black and I’m not upset about it. It’s an outdated term and he slipped up. Moving on.

    • Dante says:

      He issued a sincere apology so I give him credit. He didn’t give a half assed “sorry you were offended” non apology. As for the term used, I have heard it used mostly in rural areas here in the US and definitely not meant as a slur. But mostly it seems to only be used by older folks.

  22. 'P'enny says:

    I was starting to feel sorry for the guy, and he comes out with this. It is a big deal and he will now get entangled in a lot of political and educational issues which will clump all upper-class twa@ts together. Unfairly, too. But, no one in my circle use the expression ‘coloured’ people, it’s black, Asian or ethnic minorities. To be honest, he should know better. Why he came out with it I don’t know. I am ten years older than Benedict and I know its wrong and I grew up in 1970′s racist Britain. I will hand this to him, I don’t think for one moment he’s racist, just democratically stupid.

    Personally, I would like some real facts and figures about black people getting more opportunities in the states? I am not so sure.

  23. Ms.LadyMadame says:

    I think Benedict’s comments are extremely telling. A guy who thinks there’s a “even playing field” in Hollywood is a guy who has been insulated from racism in Hollywood. He probably hasn’t spoken to black (or any other minority, really) actors about their experiences in Hollywood. Is it really surprising that this type of person would say “coloured actors”? Not to me.

    Don’t get me wrong – I’m glad he owned his mistake in an honest way. But this just proves to me that he’s led an extremely sheltered life. And despite his attempts to seem progressive, he doesn’t explore beyond his lily white bubble, except to go on his ego-boosting “I’m so deep” voluntourist ventures to Tibet. Ick.

    • OhDear says:

      Not disagreeing with you that he’s insulated from racism, but someone upthread said that the line about an even playing field was taken out of context and it wasn’t what he meant – apparently that line was about British actors in the US having an even playing field with American actors, not black actors being in an even playing field with white actors in Hollywood. Tavis Smiley backed him up on Twitter on it.

      That being said, at least he seems genuinely contrite and didn’t do the “sorry, not sorry” apologies that a lot of people do in these situations.

  24. Wren33 says:

    In a way that term is so outdated it is almost comical. I feel like it has less power to hurt on a gut level than the n-word, which is still used today. But I am white, so I obviously am not the one to judge. To me, it speaks less of being dismissive and more of obviously not having any black friends if he 1) has heard that term enough to use it by default; and 2) doesn’t realize instinctively that it is not a term you would ever use.

    • Wren33 says:

      To clarify, that first part is more of a question than a statement.

    • Amy says:

      To me it speaks to choosing not to be informed. There’s some very odd notion going around that you can only know how to deal with blacks or other minorities if you live with them.

      A basic high school education can teach you so much. Clicking a link to an article discussing others culture and issues can immerse you in a world not your own. Benedict seemed…’comfortable’ to not know and educate himself and has now embarrassed himself.

      • Wren33 says:

        Certainly that is a first step. But speaking from experience, I think there is a world of difference between have been raised and taught to be inclusive from books, when surrounded by a homogenous environment, and actually spending enough time living with and around people different from you and understanding perspectives from a much different level. You can’t help where you grow up, and I hate when people assume that someone who lives in the middle of nowhere in northern New England or wherever is somehow automatically racist. So yes, I agree that maybe there is something else going on.

    • anon121 says:

      Uh-Lupita N’Yongo anyone? Ben did an insert foot thing and apologized. He’s said a lot of other stupid things as well. Yes-the term
      Is stupid and outdated. This from someone who spoke with an interviewer about the brutality of croquet. Yes it’s wrong and inflammatory. And yes I believe every word of his apology.

      As for the debate about what Kim Kardashian is-she’s American.

  25. Ree says:

    Thanks for the Solo pics Kaiser!!

  26. Betti says:

    In the UK (I’m British) that term is considered offensive and he should have known better – this is just an example of him pandering to middle America and it blowing up in his face (as it should). He needs to shut up and just go away! If he wanted to talk about the issue he could just have used the term ‘other ethnic groups’ or something.

    PS he just blew his very very slim chances of the gold statuette. HW must be fuming and am sure we’ll see pap shots of him with his ‘coloured’ friends.

    And i don’t think its ‘an even playing field’ – Asian actors that i know complain of being typecast all the time, even thou Asian cinema (HK and Japan) has been producing some amazing shows etc.. for many years with very talented actors. He’s a white, privileged posh boy who thinks he politically and culturally aware – comments like this show he isn’t really.

    • inthekitchen says:

      See, I think it’s just the opposite about the Oscar. I think the Oscar folks will give it to him to show that they won’t be cowed by the “PC-police” who are already mad that they didn’t give any nominations to any black actors. (Does that make sense? It’s still early here.)

      • Betti says:

        I disagree – it only serves to fuel that fire. He has a history of making borderline dodgy statements, showing how sheltered his life and education has really been. Harrow is a school of predominately white, middle/upper class boys who come from wealthy and privileged backgrounds. I have worked with people from that type of background and many of them are ‘innocent’ racists – as in they don’t know that they are being offensive toward someone who isn’t like them i.e. poor background, different race etc.. They are raised to live in a bubble.

      • inthekitchen says:

        Oh, I completely agree with what you’re saying in that respect (about his background), I just think that the people who award the Oscars also come from that kind of background so they will see someone “like them” being attacked for saying something innocent (in their minds). And they were just attacked for the lack of diversity in the nominations so they will already be feeling sensitive and defensive. I could just see them thinking “we’ll show them, Cumby didn’t mean what he said and look how bad he’s being attacked…I’m voting for him.”

        Just my .02 anyway. Hopefully I’m wrong!!

      • Felice says:


        Well that works for politicians ;-)

    • InvaderTak says:

      How is this middle class America’s fault? MCA is for the most part not ok with it. If anything he’s trying to appeal to the intellectual crowd with this interview and fails because he’s actually not that smart.

  27. ell says:

    look, he’s been saying a lot of distasteful/borderline bigoted stuff for YEARS. it’s nothing new.

  28. Amy says:


    You know what though…this is sort of that moment every minority Individial has floating in the back of their mind.

    That fear that someone they respect and consider to be equal with them will reveal they don’t fully reciprocate. There’s been a Grand Canyon-sized worth of information written about the use of the term ‘coloured’ and why it’s offensive.

    If in 2015 you don’t know or want someone to hold your hand and explain to you how not to hurt your fellow human beings then forget it. Benedict showed his true colors in this moment for me. He’s not hateful but he’s ignorant and willfully so.

    • Toodles45 says:

      Having respect for someone is more reason why one should school a well intentioned person who makes a mistake. It doesn’t mean they can’t see the other person as their fellow man. I’m a minority and I’m not disappointed, just bemused and now sure he’s aware of his mistake more than ever. I’ve had white friends and friends of a different background who I’ve had to school on mine and I don’t love them any less for it.

    • Dawn says:

      You said it all. As a black woman I avoid fan-girling too hard for any of these celebrities. It’s like you are just waiting for the other shoe to drop where they reveal themselves to be ignorant, racially insensitive or sometimes downright racist ( Gary Oldman). Then you get to feel stupid for even having liked them in the first place. I keep my distance so I won’t have to keep being disappointed.

  29. Amy says:

    Ha! This actually made me suddenly remember when I did a college introduction party, fancy stuff, in which I and the other girls in my grade level went to the President or Dean of the school’s home.

    Brand new, barely know anyone and stuck in our fanciest dress we all stood around and had to do introductions awkwardly and how we felt about this new experience. I’ll never forget the girl who proudly announced she’d never been around this many colored people so it would take some getting used to.

    …this was in 2006.

    Guess who made a bunch of new friends discussing the crazy bitch who called us colored??

  30. Anonymous says:

    Why he chose to use the word he used is anybody’s guess, but there are a lot deeper problems with this issue than some insensitive use of a word. I think the irony here is he was trying to address the bigger issue and the attention got miss-focused :(

    • Amy says:

      Partly because he revealed he is part of that issue.

      There is something to be said about not being part of the problem. I appreciate he wanted to help and try to bring attention but in the end he revealed ‘ignorance’. Maybe it’s just me but I find ignorance to be as frustrating and agonizing as out and out hatred of others for their skin tone or sexuality. It’s ignorance that lingers in the dark places of people’s minds and subtly effects how they behave and what they support in society.

      To me this means that on some level he never bothered to look into how others feel. Not on an academic level, not on a personal level. People were ‘coloured’ until he said it publicly and it blew up in his face. There’s lots of well-meaning people who can become part of the problem.

      • Anonymous says:

        I see Tavis Smiley has weighed in:
        “Sometimes words get in the way, but what was abundantly clear to me, and I trust to viewers who saw the conversation, is that Benedict Cumberbatch is in solidarity with persons of color who are still staggeringly underrepresented in the film and entertainment industry ”
        Tavis Smiley on an emailed statement to USA TODAY regarding Benedict Cumberbatch’s comments on his show (via cumber-tweets)

  31. Natasha says:

    Colored is a racist term end off!!

  32. jenn12 says:

    It was a lovely, sincere apology, and I’m not a fan of his. I don’t hate him, just not interested. But it’s heartbreaking to realize that it came out of his mouth casually, and I appreciate that he took ownership and told people that not only did he make a huge error, but that people should learn from it. One mistake is fixable, buddy, but please know it’s one and one only.

  33. UltraViolet says:

    This entire thread makes me laugh. We spend way too much time worrying about which specific words are used to refer to various ethnicities and not enough time worrying about what actions are taken to make the world a better place. Plenty of people use all the right words and have cruel hearts; others may use words that are currently out of fashion but go out of their way to help others. But, you know, piling on someone who mistakenly uses the incorrect word is an easy win and a cheap target. It’s faux outrage and it does nothing to make us more equal.

    • Crumpet says:

      Part of me agrees with you, but you know what? Words matter – an awful lot.

      • LolaBones says:

        Doesn’t the tone matters as well? I don’t care much for him nowadays but it’s kind of a witch hunt against him over here.

    • FingerBinger says:

      @UltraViolet It’s not faux outrage. Someone his age should know not to use the term “colored”. He grew up during the 1980′s and 1990′s not the 1940′s. Is he a racist? I don’t think so. At worst he’s a classist ,but he should know better.

    • tifzlan says:

      Using proper terms is part of the action.

    • **sighs** says:

      Maybe we should start making everybody wear name tags with
      1) the name they’d like to be called
      2) the sexuality they’d like to be referred as
      3) the ethnic type they’d like to be referred as
      4) the gender they’d like to be referred as
      5) a list of terms they personally find offensive
      Am I missing anything else?

      (Please take this with mass doses of funny and sarcasm – I know how you guys (girls, ladies, men, women) get).

      • Wren33 says:

        But, why wouldn’t you want to take a few minutes for figure out what people like to be called and call them that?

      • **sighs** says:

        You missed the last sentence, didn’t you?

        But just for fun, outline a conversation for me where you can get all of that information out of another person without either person feeling nervous and trepidatious or offended.

      • **sighs** says:

        My comment was directed at the terms we all feel we must use not to offend. I’d rather just have a real conversation with you. Person to person. Not politically correct term to politically correct term. We can educate ourselves on generalities but every person on the planet is unique.

      • anon121 says:

        Brilliant post Sighs! I think people are getting way too hung on labels – whether it’s sexuality, race, spectrum, etc. I happen to believe that power does not lie in labels. Power lies in ideas and actions.

  34. Claire says:

    So Benny, how does it feel to have pimped your personal life all these months to raise your profile and do damage control PR for allegedly knocking up a FWB, only to have it all wiped out by one word?

    • laughing girl says:

      I don’t think that the people who matter, i.e. Oscar voters [99.9% white, old, male with views to match] will hold that word/term against him. At all. They won’t even understand what all the fuss is about. So don’t count on this incident affecting his Oscar chances – such as they might be. Also, that WAS a good apology as far as those apologies go. Unlike the non-apologies produced by Mel Gibson et al.
      BTW outside of 1950 US I’ve never heard that term. Who is he hanging out with?

    • moodgirl says:

      We are having way too much fun tearing this guy to shreds. He made some mistakes, many of them a result of someone else’s decisions. He’s still human and has feelings. I hope I don’t make a minor mistake and have people treat me like I should not have been born.

  35. Muse says:

    I know it’s been tough since the beginning of this Oscar campaign but why isn’t his publicist Karon doing her job??
    She’s the one who’s always in front if the camera pushing him towards the interviewers and listening in as close as possible.
    How could she have missed this? It was done weeks ago and if she had been paying attention she could have had that part of the interview about ‘POC’ edited out. -sigh-
    I know BC isn’t without fault, but you’d think after all PRs antics watching the fandoms reaction to the enGAGment like hawks in order to fix their mistakes….that they would have fixed this within seconds. It’s still Oscar season after all. Or has Karon thrown in the towel??

    • gg says:

      Karon’s probably in a nice Swiss “clinic” somewhere by now LOL

      But seriously the interview was just ONE week ago and I am quite sure Tavis Smiley would have told her to shove off if she tried to tell him how to edit one of his shows.

      • alice says:

        I’m pretty sure Mr. Smiley has released a statement to the effect that he has no problem with the word in the context of the discussion and he knows BC is no racist.

      • Toodles45 says:

        @alice, yes he did. He came out in his defense, saying that the word got in the way of the message and anyone who watched the segment will trust that Cumberbatch’s heart was in the right place.

      • Felice says:

        Yeah Tavis was very mature about it. Too bad people will ignore things that don’t fit their narrative.

  36. MG says:

    He’s forgiven

  37. marie says:

    Oh please give the guy a break. Just don’t focus on the single word he said, just listen to the whole speech There was nothing offensive. And his apology is just as awesome, no excuse, no I’m sorry but… He is a fine man.

    • Kat says:

      Some people seem to truly have it in for him right now. There will always be the so called haters, but some truly wicked stuff from people who would profess to ‘like him seem to take pleasure in tearing him to shreds. It’s quite unpleasant to witness.

      • ell says:

        this isn’t the first time he’s said problematic stuff. seriously, look it up. and i’m not a heartbroken cumberbitch (in fact I never got the hype), so I don’t have it in for him. it’s just that he’s made ignorant comments before and this is a fact.

      • Kat says:

        I’m not saying he’s Mr perfect (none of us are), nor am I saying I’m a ‘heartbroken cumberbitch’ (I couldn’t be further from it) but I think people are being way too harsh on the guy. I also think some of the so called ‘problematic’ things he’s said, aren’t actually that problematic at all.

      • Dani Lakes DDS says:

        It’s also “quite unpleasant ” to witness the way some people seem to be going out of their way to excuse his behavior bc they like him.

      • Felice says:

        People love to throw that website around but they said that they are there to show that you shouldn’t blindly idolize a celebrity and that they aren’t stopping anyone from enjoying them. They just want people to be aware.

      • LolaBones says:

        Not saying Cumberbatch didnt do any of what its said in that blog, but I hate how they nitpick every single thing a celebrity does. Even for playing racist characters.

      • tifzlan says:

        Yes, i never said you shouldn’t like Cumberbatch anymore either? Someone brought up that he has said plenty of other problematic things in the past and that website chronicles some of it. Like him, hate him, do whatever you want. But people upset at his use of an archaic term aren’t just hating on him because they have it out for him. There is absolutely no excuse for Benedict Cumberbatch to be ignorant of why he shouldn’t use such a term.

      • j says:

        not quite, felice. it was only for people they didn’t like; they refused to post lists for people they did…

        the problem with that mindset is that i can make a list for any celeb if theyve been giving interviews for a number of years. same for myself if it was cataloged. but ppl cant acknowledge their own flaws

        so while you shouldnt ignore or excuse it, you also shouldnt try to make people so black and white, ya know, only good or bad, because humans are shades of both

      • Kat says:


        Well, actually, people’s opinions aren’t solely formed on whether they have the hots for the person in question. They objectively think it’s not a big deal.

      • Felice says:

        I don’t turn a blind eye to his actions anymore. Believe me, I used to just ignore it. I do acknowledge now that he has said really garbage worthy statements. But, I can’t really quit him for some reason.

  38. Crumpet says:

    Oh boy, he really stepped in it didn’t he? But honestly, Celebitchy is making it sound worse than it was. And his apology was lovely.

  39. Elly says:

    oh s*it i had no idea that there is a difference between coloured and person of colour in english speaking countries. I´m not a native english speaker, i always thought “coloured” is just an adjective and “coloured person” means the same as “person of colour”.

    • InvaderTak says:

      Speaking in strictly grammatic terms they are all the same. I personally don’t think ‘POC’ should be used for exactly that reason. I have heard that poc is used because it uses the word person first, descriptor second and it’s not specific to a single ethnicity. But you’re still using a description based on skin color that does specifically separate white from non white. I am a native English speaker and I don’t get it either.

  40. Dree says:

    I am from the UK and i can tell you right away nobody in the UK says “coloured people” in his generation perhaps in his grandparents generation they would but even then you sort of have to be a bit removed from other ethnic groups Its very old fashioned and would be considered offensive today.Doesn’t make him racist but Its obvious he is not used to being around people outside of his white upper class privilege, which speaks of a limited life experience and an ignorant mind on this matter.

    • ell says:

      this. he’s been saying these sort of things for years. for being an educated person he’s in fact incredibly ignorant and out of touch.

    • Dana says:

      Completely agree with Dree.

      I really don’t think for a second Cumby is a racist or a bigot but I do think he’s a product of the white privileged, sheltered circles and background he comes from and exposed himself as such, even if he did spend a year in India teaching English to Tibetans. He inadvertently used the incorrect word to address the issues surrounding opportunities for persons of colour in the entertainment biz. It was an honest mistake and I don’t think he needs to be drawn and quartered for it. What it does sound like to me is that he needs to broaden his social horizons and his points of cultural identification a bit more. His apology came across as sincere and I’m willing to bet my last buck that he (and I suspect many other Hollywood neophytes) probably learned a valuable lesson today about racial sensitivity.

      I’m not saying this because I like him but because I think it highlights a deeper, more serious problem within the entertainment industry as a whole and associated professions and the lack of diversity therein. Unless THAT is really tackled properly, methinks actors, actresses, directors will continue to put their foot in the mouth when discussing these topics.

  41. RobN says:

    I don’t really care for him, but I cut some slack for anybody who tries to have a reasonable discussion on race and gets caught up in an s-storm because they inadvertently choose a bad turn of phrase.

    People wonder why it’s hard to have an honest discussion about race and this is why, the potential downside is so great that people don’t try at all. Colored versus people of color and all of a sudden people are discussing whether his ancestors owned slaves. It’s completely over the top.

  42. anon121 says: today (sorry I didn’t copy when the actual pics were up):
    Cumberbatch sorry for ‘coloured’ comment 

    Redmayne win raises Oscars chances

    How things have changed. So sad. And ironic that Eddie will probably win for a role that Ben played 11 years ago. Sucks for Ben.

    • Lindy79 says:

      Not directed at you anon but I’m kind of fed up with people comparing the two in what seems to be an attempt to take something away from Redmayne. Ive seen written “Ben did it first, he did it better than Eddie. Of course ToE had more budget..” etc.
      They’re two very different projects, Hawking mainly focused on his very early days and didn’t delve with any real depth into his marriage or his declining health, and was a BBC movie. ToE was a studio movie which was based on Jane Hawkings book and covers the majority of his life. That’s neither actors fault.

      • anon121 says:

        Both Lindy79 and Lilacflowers-perhaps my post wasn’t clear. I’ve seen neither movie. I saw the bbc entertainment page this morning and was struck how different things have become for Ben. He’s gone from Oscar candidate to the man apologizing for what he said. Eddie is now the probable Oscar winner. I just added the fact that they both played the same character. Sorry bout that.

    • Lilacflowers says:

      What things have changed? And no, Ben did not play the same role 11 years ago. Cumberbatch did a television movie, which was never eligible for Oscar contention. Eddie Redmayne has delivered a tremendous performance in TTOE. Have you seen it? He belongs among the Oscar nominees and delivered one of the stronger performances among that group. I don’t understand this constant need of some Cumberbatch fans to tear down other actors in order to build him up.

  43. dante says:

    A poor choice of words shouldn’t be equated with a desire or intent to be malicious. It seems kind of absurd to think he would have been using his platform to promote greater racial diversity in his business, while at the same time trying to insult those who might be the first to benefit from that promotion.

    Of course, though his apology seemed sincere, I wonder if people here would be as accepting of let’s say Brandi Glanville if she had used the same words, or Johnny Depp, or even Jennifer Aniston? I doubt it. There seems to be an acute relationship between who we are willing to forgive, and how popular that person appears to be at a given moment in time. That’s definitely a concern.

  44. Koodles says:

    while I know he didn’t intentionally mean to offend anyone with that word. I truly think he is beating himself up more than any hater ever could. I do think he needed to address and apologize for it. And maybe this will be a lesson learnt and will educate not only him, but others as well.

  45. jammypants says:

    As a “colored person”, I find people’s hypersensitivity to choice words offensive. Sure, he’s known to put his foot in his mouth, but we all know his intentions are well.

    • Dree says:

      I can’t really understand why its supposedly so complicated to know they inoffensive words so i call BS on that. Anyone who spent any time on this subject would know this. This tells me that he doesnt think or talk about it normally.
      Secondly I think its for a black actor to say wether the playing field is even in america. Cumberbatch would not have the experience to speak with knowledge on this matter. In short i don’t see why he is talking at all as he clearly hasn’t got much knowledge on the matter. Well intentioned it may be, but clumsy and ignorant.

      • Toodles45 says:


        He didn’t say that it was an even playing field for black actors in America. Tavis made a quip about how Black British actors are taking over along with white Brits, and Cumberbatch responded with how the US is an even playing field for them (all British actors) if they pay their dues. He said it was easier for actors of color to get roles in the US, not necessarily an even playing field. And if you watch the segment you’ll get a feel for the context and why Benedict brought it up.

      • jammypants says:

        Just because he’s not black does not mean he’s not allowed to say what is actually correct. And just because he’s inexperienced on speaking on the matter, he’s not allowed to do it? maybe stumble here and there, and become more informed? I say he’s on the right path if anything.

        Getting PC distracts from the message. It’s wholly up to the individual whether they choose to be offended or not.

    • aang says:

      jammypants, As a fellow “colored person” I tried to say the same thing above and was told to “eff off”. Because apparently that is not offensive at all.

      • Dree says:

        “Eff off” is a general term that can be used at anyone, it doesnt specifically insult you because of your colour,creed, gender or sexuality. You can’t compare that to racially sensitive term. I think you are confusing things.

        But yeah no one should tell you to” eff off” in a discussion. Thats immature and bad form.
        As for you two saying it doesnt matter, language has immense power. The specific term Ben used went out of fashion in the 70s, so i find incredible that a youngish person does not know this.
        It speaks more about his lack of contact with other classes and races.
        It sounds like he picked the term up from his parents and nobody ever educated him that it hasn’t been in use for 40 years.

      • aang says:

        Dree, I understand the “eff off” was not racially motivated. I was trying to make the point that some people will claim to be so offended for an entire group of people when an unfortunate word is uttered with no ill intent, but will speak so rudely one on one to another person. I think the word most likely entered his vocabulary at his posh public school.

      • jammypants says:

        aang, apparently you are only allowed an opinion if it fits the narrative of the person reading your post. In the case of people telling you to eff off, they took offense at political correctness instead of the message.

        And Dree, words have power if we give it to them. To me they have no power. To those offended by an archaic word, they give the outdated word the power. This talk can go in circles.

        And yes Ben is obviously ignorant, and he’s humble enough to correct that. So what is the issue here? I don’t even like the guy but I definitely have to defend him here.

      • Dree says:

        Thats is a simplification. Words have the power to hurt people. Through history language and terminology has been used to target and hurt specific groups of people. It still is to this date. There is a whole study on this. I don’t look at this as defending vs not defending a celebrity. Its a general belief of mine. I can rate the mans work and still be critical of his demeanour.

      • jammypants says:

        Dree, nothing wrong with that.

      • moodgirl says:

        Words don’t have the power to hurt people. People allow words to effect them. Drag this guy through the mud to complain over a an innocent mistake but listen to rappers using the “n” word and calling black woman b’s and hos.

  46. Name du Jour says:

    Well I don’t understand what else he could have done here. If we make a terrible mistake, there are only two options: 1) not care or 2) apologize sincerely, educate ourselves as to exactly why we sucked, and vow never to do it again. Those are the options. Is there a third option I don’t know about? Besides of course not making the mistake in the first place, but not everyone is born perfect or raised perfectly – some of us have to learn?

    • Lilacflowers says:

      The third option was to say that he was not qualified to speak to the subject for anyone other than himself.

      • Name du Jour says:

        I believe that falls under “not making the mistake in the first place,” and I already said not everyone is born perfect or raised perfectly.

      • moodgirl says:

        Did he say he was speaking for everyone or giving his opinion? I missed that.

  47. kri says:

    I’m coming in. Okay, so my grandma lived across the street from us all of our lives. She was born in 1920, in Ukraine, but came here when she was 4 years old. Anyway, she adored us, saw us every day, took us to the playground, etc. One day, my sisters and grandma and me were at said playground. Two groups of older boys were playing ball, and somebody used the n-word. My G started yelling at them, and they left. I asked her what the n-word was. She slapped me right across the face. I was stunned. Then she explained things. Slavery, hangings, dogs used to attack people. it was the only time I ever got slapped. I never forgot it. Also, I never used that word. She also said to me that the correct thing to say was” A colored person” or “peoples of color”. Because that was what they called their own organization. However, that was in the late 70′s. I no longer use the phrase, as I know that it is archaic. With all of his brilliance, The Batch should have done the same. Sigh.

  48. Brasileira says:

    Some people should just stay quiet and stick to their craft, non? The more he speaks, the more stupid things we hear. There was that time when he said his girlfriend was a “nice tool”, and now, there’s the “coloured actors”. Just, shut up and act! Speaking out of character wasn’t made for you!

  49. koko says:

    I miss Sophie, and airport pap photos and alleged wedding dates.
    Fluff stuff.
    Bet he is too…..

  50. Madly says:

    Well crap, now he is going to have to marry the octopus.

    Otter king, how did you self destruct so totally?

    • Gracie says:

      He’s really made a mess for himself, hasn’t he? The thread is exploding, only now not for the Comet. I very much doubt he has to marry her, but he most likely will.

    • Claire says:

      Or maybe he won’t because he’s lost so many fans by this, he can’t afford to lose more? That’s what I’m hoping for :D

  51. Irene says:

    Yeah, done giving him the benefit of the doubt.

  52. Darya says:

    The guy really does seem to enjoy the taste of his own foot, doesn’t he? His odd way of speaking got him into trouble (again), he apologized, end of story for me. I’m going to cut him some slack and assume it was a slip of the tongue. I used to find his stream of consciousness way of speaking entertaining. Now, not so much. He needs a remedial course in public speaking, and soon.

  53. Nev says:

    I am black and beautiful and I would prefer not to be called colored as if I was blank in a coloring book.

    Thank you very much.

    And to all the people who think this is much ado about nothing go take a class on race relations or pick up a book OR sit down.

    • Toodles45 says:

      I’m also someone who would prefer not to be dismissed as just ‘colored’. And no one needs to sit down, because we all have our own experiences and those with less knowledge of race relations just need to be schooled, not be made to “sit down”, especially if they made a mistake. Some us here (people of color, myself included) simply stated that while the term is problematic and wrong in its use, not getting the pitchforks out doesn’t constitute being a racism apologist. Some context and discourse analysis helps.

      • Nev says:

        any person who is educated beyond high-school should not be using that term.
        no excuses. this is 2015.

    • Toodles45 says:

      You’re stating the obvious. No one should use an outdated and offensive term. I take from your response that you feel its best to write someone off if they say stupid things. That’s ok, its your right. I do too do that depending on the person and their intentions. But because I believe Cumberbatch meant no harm, I choose to not drag him through the mud or, for example, go so far as associating his slip with the actions of his ancestors as I’ve seen others do. That’s just my view.

  54. Ancora says:

    Benedict comes from a very sheltered place that is much more “upper class” and privileged than he seems to understand. And I think a lot of people tend to forget that because he comes across as seeing himself as middle class or “normal.” (Actually, I think he has a lot of internal conflict regarding station and his true ambitions, due to some of his actions compared to his words. But that’s a different topic.) Even at his age, I can see how “coloured” might have slipped out. He was talking on the fly and probably realized mid thought that he was not sure what was appropriate in America. So, he could have mushed terminologies together by mistake.

    That consciousness of wanting to use the right term should be at least recognized and credited. I think BC has some pals of color, but probably no true, real and close friends of color. And I think he wants to be open, but he would never see a woman of color in a romantic light. I can’t even see him dating an Asian woman. (I’m an “ethnic” girl, if it matters.) His desire to speak correctly means a lot because BC comes from a place where people generally really don’t care about what’s appropriate and they don’t have any kind of friends of color. Maybe a couple of Asians or a handful of white Latins. The import of learning about people and thinking of them and speaking of them in respectful terms feels a burden that appears to actually be “oppressive” to them – as evidenced by some choice comments in this thread.

    And to that end, I think those people are a lost cause – because it’s only about them and “their kind.” They do not think about the burdens of moving through, living peacefully and succeeding in a world where your existence and insistence on being seen as who you are and treated well is, at best, a painful nuisance that they must endure. Our insistence that they see others not like them as people who deserve equal respect is confusing to them. And it would probably be best if they continued to shelter themselves in the far corners of the world – or “keep their mouths shut and not talk at all” when leaving those isolated corners.

    The only thing I’m sorry about in this whole mess is that Benedict’s apology was as self-flagellating as it was. It seemed as though he thought he would not be forgiven, if he did not use language so strong.That makes me feel conflicted because it makes me wonder if there’s a part of him that is afraid of black people.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad he apologised so profusely and sincerely. It goes again to show that he does care and his heart is in the right place. It shows that he consciously tries to better himself and overcome his position of not having to care. You know, white men are in a very unique position where they never have to think of discrimination due to gender or race, if they don’t want to. FWIW, I think the “even playing field” comment was taken out of context. It wasn’t necessarily referring to white vs. ethnic, but British vs. American.

    And for those who think it is the sole responsibility of people of color to “educate others,” I am glad you are open to learning. But I beg you to take Benedict as your example…. He is a man who has clearly taken it upon himself to seek out knowledge. Seek it out. If you can’t see the irony of sitting on your throne of privilege while the brown people serve you knowledge on a platter, it doesn’t seem like much more improvement can happen.

    • Nayru says:

      I strongly agree with your comment. I will give him he benefit of doubt and guess he may have just mispoke and gotten words or phrases confused. I also don’t know very much about Cumberbatch so I currently, having no knowledge of any other serious mistakes on racial issues ,do not feel this is indicative of any inherent racism from him. Unless I am aware of a history of someone making ignorant statements I will give the person the benefit of doubt.

    • Toodles45 says:

      Goodness, I don’t think he apologized because he’s afraid of black people. He could’ve stayed quiet but he owned it because he knows he messed up and decided to address it, and did do promptly too. He is most certainly privileged and upper class, no matter how you slice it. But honestly, I don’t believe the term “colored” is part of his regular vocab and he may have been trying for the right word and made a mistake.

      An honest mistake followed by an honest apology. I have to say, don’t see the point of psychoanalyzing him over brain-fart or a sound bite (especially since most of the posters here clearly didn’t watch the segment), no disrespect or snark intended. Steven McQueen, who I love because he does not play or mince words, once said of BC ❝He’s a real gentleman, and there aren’t a lot of them about.❞ I think he is a good person and he slipped up. Surprise! Actors are human. Yes, I agree we need to educate people like him, not shoot him down especially when the intent was clear.

      • Ancora says:

        You should read my comment again, Toodles. I did not say that I think he apologised because he is afraid of black people. Nor did I say I or any other ethnic person should have the responsibility of educating whites. Maybe you skimmed because my comment was long – but then it really isn’t responsible to reply so rudely to something you clearly haven’t read. (It really doesn’t make sense to say things like “no snark or disrespect intended” after saying something both snarky and disrespectful. And I’ll add dismissive. That’s like someone saying “no offense” right before she says something that is clearly offensive.)

        The only other excuse for such a response could be below average reading comprehension. But I’m assuming you just skimmed what I wrote.

      • Toodles45 says:

        @ancora, I did indeed read your statement. You stated above that part of you feels or wonders if BC apologizing so profusely meant he was afraid of black people. That’s why I responded the way I did initially. You made a lot of good points and I see that you pointed out that BC’s ‘even playing field’ comment was taken out of context. So when I said that people hadn’t watched the segment, I was referring to other posters, not you. I’m a person of color, and I’m of the belief we should educate people who make mistakes and not shoot them down, a belief I felt you were appealing to in your last paragraph. Looking at it again, you are right, you did not explicitly advocate for that. If I offended you then I apologize.

      • Ancora says:

        Okay. Then it’s reading comprehension because all of your response was directed at all kinds of words I did not write. If you, as a person of color, believe you are responsible for white race education and (after all these years of fitting yourself into a white world) believe that white people need to educate you on race, you are welcome to your opinion. But then, we don’t “agree” as you said because that’s not my view. Notice how I did that without being nasty.

        This is about the only thing I said that you got close to right: “You stated above that part of you feels or wonders if BC apologizing so profusely meant he was afraid of black people.”

        Yes, I think he apologised as he did, sincerely. But there is a part of me that wonders if he is afraid that black people are “so angry” or a bunch of other adjectives that they would not see a heartfelt apology that was not so self-flagellating to be sincere. If that were to be true, it would make me sad.

        And if that angers you, learn how to deal with it as an adult. Other people will have opinions that differ from yours. If they don’t go around saying nasty things in response to you for your differing opinions, you should grow up and afford them the same respect. (And if you’re offended by that, I will tell you honestly that I don’t care. Biggest pet peeve is people who spout off without actually knowing what they’re responding to and then really can’t admit that all the garbage they were accusing you of insinuating was incorrect.)

      • Claire says:

        Agree with much of what you say but don’t understand people thinking this was a slip up. It’s clearly in his vocab. I believe his apology was sincere though and that matters more to me.

      • Toodles45 says:

        @Ancora, I do not believe I need to educate the entire white race nor did I say that. I don’t want that burden on my shoulders and I do believe people should be held accountable for their actions. What I said was I believe on calling out people who make mistakes, educating those who are not ill-intentioned and that I felt your last paragraph echoed that sentiment. I felt you were echoing what others had said about “having a discussion”. I was wrong. There’s only one thing I accused you of, aside from saying that trying to over-analyze him for making an honest mistake is pointless. If that offended you, then I’m sorry. The rest was a statement directed at other posters, which I’ve stated more than once.

        Your thoughts about BC possibly being afraid of black people does not necessarily anger me, I just think they were reaching, and just like you, such a thing, if true, would make me sad. Hence why I felt I needed to respond. And that is the ONLY thing in my original post I accused you of explicitly. I expressed having a problem with people who were saying that BC thinks Hollywood is an even playing field for black actors when he didn’t say that. I also said that I’m aware YOU didn’t say that, as I was making a statement about some people in this thread. You tell me that you aren’t being nasty and then tell me you don’t care if you offended me. If I didn’t care about offending you, I wouldn’t try to clarify myself.

        So we are both guilty of injecting our personal feelings into the discussion. But I have no desire to argue with you.

    • TEE JAY says:

      Thank you so much for this comment, it epitomizes everything I think and feel.

    • Amy says:

      God I agree with your last paragraph so much.

      So many people saying, “Why can’t we have this discussion?” when the ‘discussion’ is nothing more than them wanting to be spoon-fed the proper way not to offend people.

      Well let’s see. You are not granting anyone a favor by refusing to discuss race, the discussion happens with or without you. Benedict isn’t the devil but he is symptomatic of many people. He meant well but in the end he was also detached from the discussion and demonstrated that. He has apologized and it’s good he did, hopefully he’ll do better. You don’t need black friends or Hispanic friends or Asian friends to be informed about at least general issues within different cultures. You’re on the Internet. If you’re afraid of offending someone in conversation then make the effort to go into different forums and see how people feel about topics, how they feel about their representation, what they’re passionate about.

      This helps make you a well-rounded person and that helps you just be better in general, the more informed everyone is the better for all of us.

    • Anon says:

      You have no idea if he would ever date outside of his race. If you are basing your opinion on this one incident or the fact that you think an upper class posh guy couldn’t even fathom being with a woman who’s different than him, then all I can say is that’s you projecting your OWN biases of what you personally think on to him.

      You have no idea who he may end up with (and I say that b/c he and Ursula are definitely not going to make it).

      And who knows. He just might end up surprising you.

  55. Chantal says:

    I think BC is more up to par with Gay Civil Right issues than Racial issues. He apologized we can now move on. I hope. There is nothing more than race to take over and change the conversation. Huntress must be happy about this risen issue. She is getting a rest from the commenters on this site. Furthermore, the people who has been bashing BC for the past couple of month about the engagement are coming to his defense. Glad to see.
    BC said: “I make no excuse for being an idiot and know the damage is done”. I know some people here hoped it is only in this situation and not in his personal life. Right?

  56. Cee says:

    And this is why I always refrain from talking about race with people I don’t know. You always offend someone.

    As for my case, I always ask what the correct term is when I’m visiting another country with different ethnicities and religions. However, while in the US some people told me to say POC, others African-American, others to simply use Black. Evidently the only thing they agree on is on not using the N word.

    I do think BC should have asked before commenting but at least he apologised, unlike so many others, Hopefully he did learn a lesson.

    • Nayru says:

      There are a lot of topic best not discussed with people you don’t know like politics, religion, or liking the movie Monster’s ball. I’m not sure I could continue a conversation with someone who liked that movie :P

      • Amy says:


        I truly believe that when people make comments about how they make an effort to never talk about race that they might be suffering from a bit of Benedict Cumberbatch. It seems to suggest that there’s simply no way to respectfully address people and it’s all a lost cause. Well then, lol.

      • Cee says:

        @Amy – That’s not what I meant. I take the time to inform myself on the correct terminology depending on which country I’m visiting before deciding to throw my opinions and thoughts on people I don’t know, have never met before or come from different cultures/backgrounds/etc than mine.

        I have been offended time and time again when I say I’m latin american and people doubt me because I’m so white you can see my veins. I’ve been called a liar and demanded to show my passport/ID. Thus, I try to inform myself before passing judgements based on my reality and the country I come from where, for example, black people are just starting to be seen thanks to a new wave of immigration from Africa not seen before in our 200+ year history as an independent nation and republic. Maybe then we will have our own terminology.

      • Amy says:

        Thank you for clarifying.

        I understand what you mean by people judging you merely by how you look and using that as a barometer of how ‘authentic’ you are. It is a good idea to educate yourself so you can bring that information to any interactions you have. Sure things won’t go perfectly but no one can condemn your best effort.

        I think I was reacting to the way some people seem to be throwing their hands up at the conflict. Yes Benedict was trying to do something good but he did still use a racial slur. People are not wrong to point that out or discuss the issues that come into using a slur even when meaning well. Some people always run from the issues of race when it gets a bit dicey – which can be about 95% of the time.

        I just don’t see how we’ll totally avoid any tension without making those who are the minority feel like they have to shoulder all the not nice parts of the discussion. It’s going to get dicey and difficult but for those running from it won’t solve the problems. If people want to improve the situation then they have to be willing to engage even when it’s scary. Not flee at the first sign of deeper involvement.

      • Cee says:

        @Amy – ITA with you. The best way to tackle this issue is by educating people, most especially children at school. After all, we are a reflection of our education and culture.

        BC doesn’t get a pass from me because he should have known better. Do I think he is racist? Not really. But to live his life without knowing the term he used was inappropriate speaks volumes of his environment (and team).

  57. Chantal says:

    “Getting PC distracts from the message” does not sell newspapers. The message is too complicated, but the misused of a word is better for business. Better headlines!

    • Toodles45 says:

      Yup. I noticed some web articles with deliberately misleading titles to get clicks too. Not many of them have yet published Tavis Smiley’s statements in support of Cumberbatch.

    • jammypants says:

      Chantal, agreed.

  58. Skins says:

    So what. Don’t people have other things to worry about?

    • moodgirl says:

      Apparently not, though I wish they would find SOMETHING to occupy their time because this is beyond ridiculous.

  59. Iheartgossip says:

    Looks like a lot of ‘fans’ are jumping ship. So much for loving him.

  60. Jessiebes says:

    Reading all these comments, I realise my super white privilidge yet again.

    Like Cumberbatch, I will never really understand what racism, homophobia, sexism etc, feels like. I try my hardest to understand it and fight it. But I will never ever really get it. Which means I am not always aware of it happening – and make mistakes.

    • Cee says:

      Exactly. I once read that being privileged means you will never experience it. Being privileged does not mean denying it happens or not caring it does.

  61. PD says:

    Have never liked the guy and wish he will go away as soon as he’s very calculating and fake IMO. Did anyone see Michael Keaton on the red carpet at the SAGs? The interviewer Maria something kept asking him about the photobomb at the globes and she kept wanting him to say something about Benedict and he was deliberately swerving away from talking about it him.

    Then I realised that they were on that roundtable and I didn’t really see any fawning over Benedict thank god! From Keaton even less so. Wonder if others in Hollywood find him annoying. I find him boring as well, I can’t sense any depth or mystery in the creature. Others at the roundtable seemed humble, natural and fun especially Keaton (who has led such like that is interesting and complex and would love to chat with him), Benedict seemed insincere and like he was protecting his image and thinking as opposed to being appreciative.

    • Muse says:

      I didn’t get to watch the SAG but I totally agree with everything you said. I do remember the round table tho, Robert Downey sort of rolled his eyes when BC was asked about his engagement.His answer made me roll my eyes too! He hasn’t really been his chirpy public persona since he announced his engagement. :-(

      • moodgirl says:

        Sanka is bringing him down fast.

      • Claire says:

        I said this downthread but compare the sincerity and passion in his language in the apology compared to all the nonsense he’s been spouting about “the love in my life at the moment” these past few months

    • Alice says:

      I had the feeling when he called himself an idiot and a fool he wasn’t referring strictly to his misspeaking on the TS Show. Such a mess, these last few months. I think even w/o the Sherlock filming he would have avoided the SAGs, knowing this apology was imminent.

  62. Stephanie says:

    I’ll give him a pass.
    My former boss (he is 45) used this term. I corrected him about it. He was very embarrassed. I think this comes from not having a diverse upbringing. And probably giving many passes to racist friends and family. Even if one isn’t racist themself, he/she gets surrounded by casual use of offensive language and don’t realize it’s a problem.

  63. anon121 says:

    was just surfing and saw rhis headline in CNN News and Buzz – “Cumberbatch Apologizes for Racial Remark”. It goes into the full story after the link. Not good, this.

  64. WTF says:

    Damn, now THAT’S how you make an apology

  65. jammypants says:

    I find his apology more sincere than his campaign mess.

    • Claire says:

      I know right! For those of us who’ve been paying attention to Cometgate, compare the language of his apology to the language of when talks about Fishstick. A world of difference in ease and sincerity and passion. This came straight from his heart…unlike his so-called love of this woman.

      • Ree says:

        so tru. Thats how he talks about stuff he is passionate about. thats how i expected to see him talking about the love of his life!! DO we see that?? nope

    • jammypants says:

      I just want to add that because people can’t look past PC, that is why the race issue is so damn difficult to tackle. Let’s get past technicality of words and actually make the point that needs to be addressed.

  66. The Original G says:

    Whether this is an innocent faux pas or a tell of privately held bias, I don’t know.

    What I do know, is that for longer than this person’s entire lifetime, referring to someone as colored has been considered inappropriate.

  67. Anonymous says:

    I think his apology seems sincere and everyone makes mistakes. He obviously did not mean to hurt or offend anyone. He seems to have publicly repented. I for one, will forgive and move on.

  68. IP says:

    I agree – it is a very good apology that sounds sincere as opposed to a PR bandaid your team wrote for you.

  69. Who ARE these people? says:

    He seems to have a serious case of hoof-in-mouth disease and may (or may not) have meant to say “people/persons of colour” and it came out wrong. He may have mixed up the things he picked up in his early years with the modern acceptable term.

    Sheesh, what a mess. Maybe a little Ritalin would help. He’s said he’s impulsive and that would extend to speech, and some people are simply prone to malapropisms or mixed-up words. Given the sheer volume of his speech, it’s surprising nothing like this popped out earlier. Maybe this incident will teach him to zip it — even or especially when he feels extra earnest.

  70. EM says:

    I don’t really see that it’s that different from saying actors of colour. The word colour is still being used. Colour/coloured. Same meaning. That being said, I don’t think he was being racist or whatever else. He probably got muddled about the American usage of the term and he had a brain fart and said ‘coloured actors’ instead of ‘actors of colour’ [which has the same meaning, but which Americans find more acceptable to say -oddly enough].
    What I personally think is that this word shouldn’t be used by anyone – including African Americans – to describe people. At the end of the day, being white caucasian is still a ‘colour’, so what is the difference? None. So the term is illogical and unnecessary and tends to feed into racist thought/conceptualisations because it emphasises difference.

  71. Dommy Dearest says:

    Oh of course he gets a pass on this site. He’s one of the ones the head one likes as well as being a male. Hypocrisy.

  72. Melain says:

    I was not aware that acting job opportunities are more plentiful in the U.S. Interesting.

    • Emma says:

      They’re not. As a Latina of African descent, I’m actually struck by the opportunities black actors seem to have in England. IDK why black British actors think they can do better here, NO you won’t get better parts, you’ll just get more stereotyped. Whenever I go to plays in London I’m struck by how many black actors I see in them, especially in classical plays (which here you won’t have a chance in hell of getting, I can at least speak for Miami). Also in BBC productions, like the Hollow Crown, I’m struck to see more black people or at least black people in important roles that here in the US they would not get. Sophie Okenedo is playing Margaret d’Anjou in the Hollow Crown this year. Margaret of Freaking Anjou!! There is NO WAY IN HELL a black actress would get a part like that here in the US. I remember Denzel Washington in Kenneth Branagh’s Much Ado About Nothing. Would he have gotten a Shakespearean part like that in a film here?! I doubt it, esp. considering some Hollywood execs are still hesitant to hire him because he’s black (Sony leak).

  73. Amy says:

    As a white person who gets confused with PC terms that change with every decade, I get that colored people is outdated. Why is people of color considered better? Is it just a rebranding of colored people? Does being “of” something sound better? Can someone tell me why they just reversed the term and inserted an of? I’m genuinely curious, not trying to stir the pot if someone could take the time to explain.

    • enike says:

      I would like to know as well, what is the big difference… there is a “color” in both?

    • Gracie says:

      As a person of colour I would like to know as well.

    • solanacaea (Nighty) says:

      That’s such a good question, and apparently nobody knows the answer.. because it makes no sense whatsoever one expression being considered wrong and the other right..both should be wrong…

  74. Anon says:

    I don’t think this was a slip up when he made that statement, using outdated terms. To me it feels like that’s how he talks to people around him (typical privilege white person).

    I think it’s convenient for him to issue and apology. I don’t accept it.

  75. drea says:

    Quite a few people seem to think “of color” is more acceptable than “colored” but frankly, I don’t see why we still use phrases of this nature, period. At the root of both terms, you have the same issue. “Colored” or “of color,” as opposed to what? Oh, that’s right, white. As if there are only two categories of race: white and everyone else. Old terms from an old era that we need to avoid passing on to the following generations.

    • Cee says:

      ITA. As a white woman I would not like it if someone described me as colourless so I understand why others would find offence to be labeled “coloured” as if we were all walking canvases waiting for someone to colour us in.

  76. ukbound says:

    I’m not sure of how this plays in Britain. I think it is just a word. Ironically, he was trying to help people. I’m so tired of people jumping down other people’s throats for the words they use to describe things. If you say one thing, other people don’t like it. You can never please everyone.

    Racism is how you treat people, not the words you use. By all appearances, he is not a racist. I abhor racism, but I abhor people trying to control other people through words even more. People are not delicate flowers, they will not wilt. You ignore true racism and the advancement of tolerance when you constantly criticize people for the terminology they choose to use.

  77. Emma says:

    He apologized through the Daily Heil, a newspaper that somehow manages to be racist, homophobic, Islamophobic and sometimes Anti-Semitic all at once? I already know everything I need to now about anyone who takes the Daily Mail seriously.

    • J says:

      Nope, the daily fail just ran it like everyone else after it was released

      it was a us show, so he issued his statement though a us outlet, People (it’s noted on CNN’s run of it)

  78. tasha_nat says:

    Sophie spotted in Paris at the Valentino show with Anna Wintour. Barf.

    • alice says:

      Wearing what appears to be a tablecloth. With black tights.

      • Ree says:

        full valentino package guys. That tablecloth costs 6290$ and shoes 950 . 7.5k for that monstrosity. god save me

      • Koodles says:

        I could pay a year’s worth off of my mortgage with that. But, I do really love those shoes though….just would not wear them with freaking tights.

      • alice says:

        Once the freebies dry up, she’ll put BC’s bank balance in the overdraft territory. I never before suspected he was a masochist.

    • Claire says:

      Can we talk about how she’s not wearing her engagement ring? And wasn’t her friend’s daughter dressed in Valentino too? I’m guessing if the wedding is happening she’s having a Valentino gown. Gross. Their stuff is awful

      • alice says:

        There’s another shot that, if you really enlarge it, appears to be a too big ring hanging off her finger. You know, that ring in the grainy photo he didn’t want people to see.

    • Claire says:

      Somewhat related post. Remember I was asking why digitalspy always ran gossip that proved to be more or less true and I asked who owned them? I just found out: Hearst uk, the uk branch of the company whose heiress was once snapped with Mr bc

      • Cee says:

        Expand on this, please (for those of us who really know 1% of what’s going on LOL)

      • Claire says:

        He was rumored to have dated a hearst named lydia. Not sure if she has involvement with the family’s business, but they own a gossip site that has consistently provided accurate leaks on this entire mess of a relationship

    • Kat says:

      Oh dear. Wintour is really on Weinstein levels of nasty and no surprise they’re friends.
      As for SH, well she’s quite openly grabbing this fame by association thing. Front row of a Valentino next to the grand high witch of pretentious overpriced clothes, decked out in some kind of white Valentino shroud? And still apparently persisting with the bag trick for some reason..
      So much for low key and avoiding the limelight…

  79. Ree says:

    Thats almost next to abuse!! IMO. who says that.

  80. Mikunda says:

    So he is what he is at the end of the day – a racist who thinks he is born in privilege, just because he is not a man of color. Shame on him.