Benedict Cumberbatch makes impassioned speech: ‘F–k the politicians’


For the past month, after every performance of Hamlet, Benedict Cumberbatch has been making little speeches during the curtain call. He asks the audience members to donate to Save the Children, and he’s arranged for Save the Children buckets (or whatever) to be arranged around the theater and they’ve raised more than $150,000. He’s been using those speeches to talk about the European refugee crisis and how appalled he is that Britain is only taking in 20,000 refugees. On Thursday night, Benedict did the same, only he added a new bit. Apparently, he shouted “f—k the politicians!”

Benedict Cumberbatch surprised theater-goers by saying “f*** the politicians” during an impassioned on-stage speech about Europe’s refugee crisis, audience members told NBC News Friday. The Oscar-nominated star had just finished a performance of “Hamlet” at London’s Barbican Centre when he criticized the British government.

“He stayed at the front and gestured for silence,” said Charlotte Fletcher, a 25-year-old public relations worker who was in the audience on Tuesday. “He burst into this magnificent monologue about Syrian refugees, about how they are all fathers, mothers, daughters and sons, just like us.”

Cumberbatch then attacked plans by the U.K. government to accept 20,000 refugees over the next five years, a figure condemned as too meager by opposition lawmakers and campaigners.

“Then he just shouted, ‘F*** the politicians!'” Fletcher told NBC News. “It was a wonderful moment. It was very impassioned and from the heart. It was amazing to see an actor just being so impassioned and raw.”

Another audience member, Rachel Martin, who is from London and in her 50s, described the speech as “so moving.”

“The show was fantastic but you left in tears after his speech,” she told NBC News. “It was very eloquent, emotional and beautifully put … He gave a four-letter word to the politicians and said, ‘We’ve got to do something about it.'”

Both audience members said the speech went down well and was received by rapturous applause. However, Fletcher added: “The parents next to me had two young-teenage children and I think they were a bit taken aback!”

[From NBC News]

Sure. I mean, I’m not going to sit here and claim that I’ve never said similar things or much worse things about American politicians. And while I understand that there is a vital and important context to Bendy’s words, how does “f—k the politicians” really help anything? I get the frustration, for sure. I applaud him for trying to do something, anything to help. But… “f—k the politicians”? Really?


Photos courtesy of WENN, Fame/Flynet.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

235 Responses to “Benedict Cumberbatch makes impassioned speech: ‘F–k the politicians’”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Loulou says:

    So edgy, Otter.

    • Jellybean says:

      I can stand being preached at by actors. If you want to play that game, do a Glenda Jackson, quit acting and stand for office. Those people didn’t pay to hear him lecture them and he is taking advantage of his position. I believe that actors are entitled to privacy, but once you take that step then I think you have given up that right. So gutter press – go get him! PS, agreeing or disagreeing with the sentiment is irrelevant, he is playing the politician so he should expect the same treatment.

      • Jellybean says:

        Sorry – I meant I CAN’T stand ….

      • Paris says:

        I feel such pathos for the refugees and their suffering, but, I have to agree about being preached at during or after a performance. Barbra Streisand pulled this during the 2008 Election, going on and on about who to vote for. Needless to say, this did not go over well with people who paid an outrageous amount of money to hear her sing, not pontificate. Celebrities can have their choice of public forums for causes near and dear to their hearts. I remember years ago at the Oscars, Richard Gere started preaching about the Dali Lama and saving Tibet and it irritated me to no end. It’s the one night of the year people can dress up, have fun and forget their problems and the problems of the world for a few hours. Hollywood knew this during the Depression when they made nothing but happy Shirley Temple movies or fabulous musicals so people could escape the real world for awhile.

      • seesittellsit says:

        This +1,000

      • EN says:

        > Hollywood knew this during the Depression when they made nothing but happy Shirley Temple movies or fabulous musicals so people could escape the real world for awhile.

        No wonder so many people see the parallels between the US and the decline of the Roman empire. Bread and circuses – that is what I just read.

      • Paris says:

        EN, anyone with half a brain in this country knows full well that it is the decline of the American Empire; but I never heard the expression “bread and circuses” before. I Googled it, and you’re absolutely right. Thanks for teaching me something new, I love it.

      • MND says:

        Do you feel this way about female actors who talk about feminism and want wage equality in Hollywood?

      • Paris says:

        MND, then do something about it yourself if it upsets you so much. Plenty has changed . . . we have female police officers, fire fighters, soldiers, CEOs, politicians, etc. What the hell else do you want?

      • Andrea says:

        I have been saying that America is becoming like Rome for 5+ years now. Most Americans are in deep denial of the fall that is happening and continue to believe they are the “best” at absolutely everything. I feel this mindset is VERY similar to the way the Romans felt as well.

      • seesittellsit says:

        @EN – Hollywood actually began to make social comment films during the Depression: The Grapes of Wrath was made in 1940; All Quiet on the Western Front was made just after the Depression struck. Public Enemy, An American Tragedy, Scarface with Paul Muni, Of Human Bondage, Bette Davis in Marked Woman, A Tale of Two Cities, Dodsworth, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, Boys Town, The Petrified Forest, Dead End with Sylvia Sidney and Joel McCrea about the slums of NY, Grand Illusion, Chaplin’s great sly hits, Angels with Dirty Faces, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington – all made between 1929-1940. Of course much of it was entertainment – do you blame people in the Depression for that? But it’s not true that that was all Hollywood produced.

      • EN says:

        My comment was actually about the attitudes of people. The world can be going to hell in the hand basket but they don’t want to know as long as their and theirs are ok and their needs are met.

      • EN says:

        @Andrea, yes. everything was just FINE until Rome itself was finally overrun by tribes mistreated by Romans for hundreds of years.
        US so easily creates enemies, shows so little compassion towards them, without any thought that one day our descendants might end up being at their mercy.

    • Paris says:

      MND, you bet I do, and I won’t apologize for it, either. I totally believe we as women should get the exact same amount for the same job as performed by men, but I’m sick and tired of hearing every actress in Hollywood going on and on about feminism. All of a sudden, they’re finding out they make less than the guys?! Actresses can easily negotiate better deals through their managers, since the studios will lose money if they lose big name draws at the box office. Once again, there are platforms and forums for these things . . . this is all political and should be addressed by the politicians, not some 18 year old starlet who probably doesn’t even know what feminism is.

      • Jellybean says:

        I had a quick look at the Mailonline comments section and they are eating Cumberbatch alive over this, over 2000 comments, the vast majority very anti his actions and with more that 5000 agreeing with the top comments and only a hundred or so against. I also had a quick look back at the comments on the Jennifer Lawrence / Jeremy Renner story and again most are anti her and pro or neutral on him. People do not respond to being lectured by someone in a position of privilege and especially by actors. I honestly think the the media is totally out of sync with some of these issues and they are doing harm to some good causes because of the way they present some stories.

      • MND says:

        You’re sick of hearing about feminism? So wouldn’t the solution be to get rid of inequality rather than to stop talking about it? Because whenever I hear people complain about being sick of “hearing” about inequality I think about how sick of experiencing inequality a lot of people must be.

      • Fluff says:

        The Mail is extremely right wing and racist, though. It’s famous for that. It’s our version of Fox News – I mean, the Mail openly supported Hitler back in the day, and twice that I can remember caused outrage by publishing big stories openly advocating for gay people to be killed. When they reported on some ‘science’ story saying scientists had discovered a gay gene, their headline was something like “joy as gay cure found.” It wasn’t even that long ago.

        So really anyone whose attitude towards refugees isn’t “shoot the n***ers on sight” is going to be reviled. Which is certainly not the attitude of most people in Britain.

      • Paris says:

        MND, then do something about it yourself if it upsets you so much. Plenty has changed . . . we have female police officers, fire fighters, soldiers, CEOs, politicians, etc. What the hell else do you want?

      • Paris says:

        And incidentally, Jellybean is right. Go and check out the comments section on The Daily Mail. I love Cumberbatch as Sherlock, but he’s getting crucified for his comments onstage, even if it was after his performance. Nobody wants to hear it from celebrities, period, end of story.

      • Jellybean says:

        The Daily Mail is indeed a vile right wing rag and the Mailonline is ridiculously inaccurate, but it does seem to be the gossip rag with the most active comment section anywhere in the world, at least if you take into account the up and down votes. It is a good place to get an overview of how people feel, especially when the comments go against the tone of the piece. The point I am trying to make is that celebrities speaking out on ‘issues’ is often counter productive.

      • Mispronounced Name Dropper says:

        @Paris: Equal pay for equal work. A more even distribution of women in positions of power. One of the things I do to combat sexism is to talk about it on blogs like this. Another good way to combat it and other discrimination is not to participate in it or try to undermine people who speak out against it.

      • Fluff says:

        The Daily Mail isn’t representative of anything except how racists think. A couple of thousand comments is still a tiny number of people.

  2. InvaderTak says:

    Whatever otter. The crisis is not going to be resolved with bleeding heart speeches.

    • EN says:

      That is very cold.

    • hmph says:

      Exactly. This is why I don’t want actors as politicians.
      I have relatives and friends in Europe who are scared to death with the recent influx of immigrants due to being black and having to deal with people who see them as less than human and have no problem attacking them. It’s easy for some (few) privileged people to be all free loving and “let them all in!!” when they won’t have to suffer the consequences.

      • reddy says:

        I’m sorry to what happens to your family, but the conclusion should not be to blame the refugees. And what is the alternative to let them all in? Just let them die? Say boohoo, I’m so sorry but nope? I hate this capitalistic thought. The people who cry the loudest live in the richest countries and they are driven by one thought: I might have to share! They never lose one thought to the fact that they are only able to live in a rich country because the other half of the world is incredibly poor. And no, not the “poor” that we are talking about in western europe. A kind of poor most of us cannot even imagine. What kind of f*cked up world is this where it is more important to hold up a ridiculously high living standart for only a few people instead of sacrificing some of it for the sake of all, or at least more. The capitalistic politics need to change. Or people will die, either because they are being left for dead at the borders and therefore officially sacrificed in the name of capitalism or because of racists that see it as their right to run around burning down houses and camps because they had the luck to be born on the rich side of the planet. And no, I am not a socialist, or communist, but I’d like to think I am a human being. If we are not willing to share some of our privileges, what are we?

      • greenmonster says:

        Thanks, reddy! I just wanted to ask what the alternative could be. So, neighbouring, filthy rich countries refuse to take refugees in. That is bad. But our answer can’t be “yeah, sorry about that. better luck, with the country you are born in, next time.”

      • antipodean says:

        @reddy, I couldn’t have put that better if I tried! You are so right in everything you say. Thank you for that, it is always a good feeling to know that there are other compassionate, good- hearted people in the world. It’s a shame there are not more politicians of a like mind, in all countries.

      • reddy says:

        Thank you, it so good to see there are others! To be honest, I was kind of being ready to be torn into pieces for my little rant. The topic hits very close to home for me because I work with unaccompanied minors from Afghanistan and on the other hand my brother is…let’s say he is not particulary friendly about the topic and it breaks my heart everytime I talk to him and try to make him undestand that if he had to live under the conditions and fears those people are coming from, he also would grab his little backpack and walk as far as his feet would let him. But no, he does not undestand. Instead tells me how taxes will rise due to “them”.

      • Boston Green Eyes says:

        Good for you, reddy – your job must be terribly difficult. I just read an article in the New York Times about the unaccompanied minors (one was 7 years old!!). The article said that only 2% are female, but those working with those girls say that the atrocities that are done to these girls are so horrific that they cannot even write/document them.

      • hmph says:

        I didn’t say I “blame the refugees” or “let them all die!”.
        This is what happens when you try to speak on issues that are very sensitive with people who are reactionary and use emotional manipulation instead of sticking to facts and logic.
        Not all immigrants are the same, you have a ton of different cultures, ethnicities, religions and backgrounds and stick them all in the same pot and you’re bound to have conflict.
        I spoke on a very real issue that affect a lot of people who are unfortunately becoming easy targets to take out anger and frustration on because they don’t have the “complexion for protection”.
        I am worried for them because of frequent attacks they and others have to deal with on a constant basis because *some* (I would say a lot) view them as less than human.
        I realize now it was the wrong place to comment on that because it requires more than the typical liberal (not political) thinking.

      • InvaderTak says:

        @hmph: I see your points and I agree, for what it’s worth. It doesn’t make you any less caring or compassionate to acknowledge and try to address the real and complex problems involved in this issue. I find myself talking about “the issues” with people less because anything less than total agreement is total disagreement. It’s tiring, unproductive and unwelcoming. While I do consider myself to be liberal, the over simplification of issues seems to be a huge problem for some reason.

      • Mary-Alice says:

        I am European. The main issue is that people on blogs like this don’t want to admit that not all those fleeing to Europe now are refugees. There is a significant number among themwho are economic immigrants seeing the situation as a major chance. A proof for this is that they don’t agree to settle in the first safe country on their way, something a person running for their life will gladly do, and actually have pretentions as to which country they must be sent to and even what accommodation to receive. Give me a break! What about the majority of men? Working age men. Even the UN statistics sho2 the fact that the majority are men. I am absolutely positive the families and kids must be accommodated and well but to force Europe to receive working age men coming alone with pretentions where to go and where to live, that I disagree with. I also happened to see Malmo when it happened and let me tell you, it ain’t pretty. Do you know that there are areas in the city, as of today, where even female police officers refuse to go? You don’t. You should. In my country we have assaults and rapes to deal with because many of those single travelling men don’t want to respect our western way of seeing females and the way they dress or behave. No, I am not so kind and forgiving, sorry. The USA can take a couple of millions if you guys are so generous. But from what I hear the USA will take less than my much smaller country. Big on words, small on actions, eh?

      • dax says:

        Dood, do you actually have a point?

        Do you suggest a solution?

        Other then resent and hate ?

      • EN says:

        @Mary-Alice, all the same things were said about every single way of immigration, every single one – Irish, Polish, Italian, Mexican etc. Including all the rape and robbery stories. You have to assimilate and integrate people, it doesn’t happen by magic. And treating immigrants as enemies doesn’t help anyone.

      • SBS says:

        @Mary-Alice Are you from Malmö? I bet you’re not. So, kindly shut up about something you know nothing about.

    • Lizzy says:

      @hmpf You are hopefully aware that while the media attention might be on the refugees fleeing from the Middle East there is considerable portion of refugees coming in from Africa? I am German and live in the UK and to be honest when I hear what is happening back in my country I am petrified.

      I am more worried about the growing part of the German population who would rather set fire to a house instead of letting refugees live in it. Who sprout hate and lies on the internet. Who march on the streets waving the old German flags (the only thing missing is the swastika on it). Who claim to speak in the name of the “Volk”. Who make public speeches lamenting the closure of the concentration camps and who see refugees as the scum of the earth.

      If you wish to be afraid, be afraid of them!

      • dax says:

        Lizzy, my heart goes to you and to all worthy Germans out there. Trying times for sure. As taxing as the logistics of immigration seem to be, I bet the the fact that fundamental values are in danger is going to be even more upsetting.

      • InvaderTak says:

        Why shouldn’t they be afraid of both??? Neither is a promising prospect. Why do people so determined to make this one singular issue, with one singular “enemy”? How many different ways can I say that this crisis is complex? Saying don’t worry about that, worry about this solves nothing! Why would you even suggest that? In fact that’s really belittling to hmpf’s totally legitimate worry! They are two totally separate issues (though they are linked to the general issue of migration and refugees)! This is not about one upping each other or proving people wrong. You two are looking at the issue from varying viewpoints. One is not more important than the other! Perspective people. Just because it’s not of particular concern to you doesn’t make it irrelevant! Hmpf didn’t do anything wrong. It’s supposed to be discussion, not competition. Your concerns are not any more valid than the others.

      • Fishfishbirdcats says:

        Invader– I’m interested. I have not thought about the refugee crisis from a point of view like Hmph’s or yours. I wish you would tell more about your perspective.

      • InvaderTak says:

        @fish: My perspective on this is mostly as an observer as I’m American. I’ve donated money to try to help bring medical resources but other than that and sign petitions that’s all I’ve found I can do. The nitty gritty of the social/political climate, issues, etc of the situation aren’t truly within my understanding. My information is from the internet, which of course is a good thing and a bad thing. The real stories of what’s going on are mixed with the worst of the worst of racist, xenophobic rhetoric imaginable. The biggest takeaway I have from following the stories is that this is a right proper mess, on both sides. On general principle, people should be helping those that are fleeing war and death. But there are a lot of reports from reliable, unbiased people like the UN that say that that the story is a lot more complicated than that (things like what Mary-Alice is talking about. I’ve read about that too.). Multiple countries and multiple cultures have to come together here and that’s incredibly difficult and the unfortunate reality is that it simply won’t happen with some people. Help doesn’t come and progress don’t happen because you’re a kind person and you want it too. I don’t have any answers to these very difficult questions and I’m ashamed that my government isn’t doing more. The biggest reason for that is supposedly the vetting process which they won’t relax. Sec of State Kerry said we would be taking more next year but that’s still a pittance now.
        My thoughts on this thread are more about how current western culture responds to things like this. I’m tired of grown educated people acting like angsty teenagers at a Green Day concerts and being praised for it while people who want to discuss a very real issue have to constantly be on the defensive. This issue is so complex (do I sound like a broken record yet?) it warrants thorough discussion that isn’t happening because it’s being shouted down by people raving about compassion and how we have to help. I don’t understand how you can say that we have to help and then divert the issue when asked how and bury heads in the sand when presented with harsh realities. It’s frustrating and goes against what I believe liberalism and social responsibility are.

      • hmph says:

        Thank you!!
        Geez, I am worried about all of it! I just mentioned one of many things to be worried about and it affects all of us except the 1% like Cumberbatch. The middle class, the working class, and the poor will have tosuffer the consequences.
        Of course I am worried about the growing numbers of extreme far right and nazi hate crimes but that was expected all along. The more complex forms of hate crimes among different immigrants is a whole other issue which no one seem to know how to deal with.
        Most of the refugees btw are young men..

    • Fluff says:

      LOL. A+ comment.

    • anon121 says:

      @EN-This situation is VERY different than the immigrants who came into America, including the influx of Vietnamese, Hmongs, Cambodians, and Laotian that came into New England. These were all true refugees fleeing the horrors of war. Yes, there are refugees in Europe but there are many others that are taking advantage of the situation. There are WAY too many single young men. There have been some estimates that up to 10% of these could be ISIS. When I was in London I had the opportunity to speak with a Belgian who said that some of the refugees in a camp by her were disrespectful and not happy with what they were being given. Some threw their food on the ground because its not what they wanted. Security guards have to accompany volunteers. But if one commented negatively they were branded as racist. Mary-Alice brings up very valid points. Europe and the US have to be careful. Absolutely there are people who have been through hell and deserve the chance to live in freedom. But no, not everyone should be let in, and they certainly should be prepared to follow the laws of the country they are in, including respecting women. Another excellent point-why do these people keep moving? They want to get to Western Europe where there are more generous social programs. Many of them want to go to England. 200 Somali migrants (all men) stormed the chunnel in Calais-where it’s becoming more dangerous every day. Not everyone is a refugee which is why it’s so complicated to decide who to admit.

      • Lostara says:

        “and they certainly should be prepared to follow the laws of the country they are in, including respecting women. ”

        This. And not only respecting women, also respecting gays. There are already reports of gay couples being attacked by other refugees in their emergency homes. That is an absolute NO-GO.

        And I know some gay men who watch this whole situation very attentive and with caution. On the other hand, there is much support for the refugees from the LGBT-community.

        Don’t get me wrong, I am all for helping the real refugees. But we have to watch closely who is coming, and registering all of them is neccessary and right. Who is taking advantage, kicking our German society, culture and laws with their feet – should be sent back to just were their were coming from.
        This whole situation is far from being easy…..

        Several years ago, there was such guy in Cologne, the self-proclaimed “Khalif of Cologne”. He was a curd I think, pursued in Turkey and got asylum in Germany. Yeah, he used that asylum to build Koran-schools and to push forwards his plans to turn Germany into an islamic “god-state” (I don’t know the english term for “Gottesstaat”). And there were enough die-hard muslims, even women, following him. It took the German government far too long, but finally he was sent back to Turkey. He abused his given asylum in our country – so good riddance.

        You live in Germany, you follow OUR rules. You do not, you will face consequences – refugee or not.

    • Sabrine says:

      My friend in England tells me the Brits don’t like him at all after he gave a 15 minute speech at one of his performances about how England wasn’t taking in enough immigrants. Apparently, for those who are struggling to find work and put food on the table, this preaching by a wealthy actor to fling open their doors did not go over very well.

      • Doc says:

        Someone said in the comments above that people in “England” don’t like him because of his speeches after shows. He is definitely not doing this for popularity… this is NOT a PR move. This is someone who is using his popularity to advocate for something he cares for. I agree that how he does it can be a topic of discussion.
        Europe is not just members of the EU on the one hand, and also not all countries the refugees go through are the refugees chosen destinations, like Germany. It irks me to no end to hear people from relatively wealthy, functioning countries wail about how somehow the refugees will ruin their quality of life. Most of those countries’ governments are reponsible for the crisis in the first place, so your anger/ fright is very misplaced. And Benedict is just trying to avert your misplaced attention to the problem at hand.

      • Nadeshda says:

        Working at a jobcenter I will be honest with you: Those who can’t find a job are simply stupid and underqualified most of the time. The reason they don’t find a job aren’t refugees. I see their non-existing degrees, I see their horrible pieces of paper they call applications, I see people who are unwashed alcoholics and won’t ever find a job even if they are the last persons on earth. That are the people who then go on to rant about refugees taking their jobs. This is simply xenophobia speaking from people who have never had a chance in life. Refugees or not.

  3. Die Zicke says:

    You know, normally I don’t care very much about him, I think he’s a good actor, but I’m not very interested in him personally.

    Right now, I really like him. Agreed. F#ck politicians. I’m beginning to become very disappointed in how some countries are handling the crisis. I’m also disappointed in the growing xenophobia. I’m glad Benedict is supporting the Syrian refugees.

    And you might not like the cursing, but I can understand getting overwhelmed by the frustration in a moment of passion.

    • Luca76 says:

      This exactly! And I honestly think it’s good for kids to hear something like that as opposed to hearing profanity in a casual context.

    • Franca says:

      More than 200 000 refugees have passed trough my country ( a country of 4 million people) and while the people AND the politicians want to help, logistically it’s very hard. They don’t want to stay in shelters, they just rest quickly and move on. Some of them refuse to be registered, and they haven’t been registered anywhere before. Only two people requwsted asylum.
      And we delt with a refugee crisis in the 90s, when 600 000 people settled here. And we delt with it well. But these people want to go to Germany, or Sweden. Even if the EU deciides on quotas for each country, how will they make them stay in poorer parts of the EU?

      • Die Zicke says:

        @Franca I’m very sympathetic to the countries, like Greece for example, that are facing economic hardships and seeing huge waves of immigrants passing through their country. Though I’m not sympathetic to groups who are reacting with violence and xenophobia. I’m not sure where your from, but my comment wasn’t a blanket criticism of Europe, though it may have read that way, and I’m sorry if it did.

        To clarify, I’m disappointed in the wealthier European countries for not taking a bigger portion of the burden. Like Benedict, I think the UK can and should do more, as well as my own countries, the US and Germany. And I realize that there ARE a lot of people who are trying to help in those wealthier governments, but I’m critical of the GOVERNMENTS who aren’t doing enough.

      • Elisa the I. says:

        @Die Zicke: Germany will take in 1 MILLION refugees this year. I’m not German (I’m Austrian) but I wonder what else Germany should do? They are now taking in the majority of the refugees because – just like Franca explained – the refugees only want to go to Germany. So before arriving in Germany they pass through Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria – which are all considered safe countries, but the refugeees don’t want to stay there.
        They say: “…We were invited to come to Germany…” (Merkel: “All refugees are welcome here”)
        They expect to get a flat and find work in Germany – which is totally unrealistic considering the high number of refugees. Germany is right now struggling to set up enough tents (!) to accomodate the refugees during winter time (winters can be really cold). BTW: the same amount of refugees is expected in 2016!
        Last week Germany has changed the laws, now countries like Albania, Kosovo are considered safe countries. Also, people who don’t have refugee status will be returned quicker to their country of origin (this now partly includes Afghanistan which had special status until now). The problem German authorities are now facing is that many refugees threw away their passports (figures vary but at least 1/3 of the refugees coming to Europe are NOT Syrian). So now it’s a struggle that their country of origin takes them back in.
        My country – Austria – will take in around 100.000 refugees by the end of the year (that’s approximately the same amount we took in after the Yugoslav war, so this figure can be handled). I talked to some of them who already arrived last year. Back then they still wanted to go to the US (until they realized that the US is bascially not taking in any refugees) and now they want to go to Vienna, our capital because they see more opportunities there (not true).
        Needless to say that the ring-wing parties in Austria are attracting more voters. This “trend” can be seen in almost every election all over Europe.
        My assumption is that Germany will not much longer be able to take in so many refugees and then things will get ugly. The EU is struggling to enforce quotas so that all member states take in a certain share (countries like Czech Republic or Slovakia point blank refuse to do so).
        The UNHCR ran out of funds to run the refugee camps around Syria already in June this year. So the situation Europe is now facing was partly caused by Europe, but also by other countries like the US who pledged money for the refugees but never transferred the actual funds.
        Therefore I 100% support Cumberbatch’s statement. Also, the war in Syria started in 2011. 2011!
        Where was the UN? What was done so far to end this war?

      • Die Zicke says:

        @Elise the I.
        I realize Germany is doing a lot, but many of their camps for refugees are not in good condition, refugees are staying there much longer than they should and some refugees in Germany are having difficulties getting proper medical attention.

        I am German and I think we are doing good taking in so many refugees, but we still have a lot of work to do.

    • Franca says:

      More than 200 000 refugees have passed trough my country ( a country of 4 million people) and while the people AND the politicians want to help, logistically it’s very hard. They don’t want to stay in shelters, they just rest quickly and move on. Some of them refuse to be registered, and they haven’t been registered anywhere before. Only two people requested asylum.
      And we delt with a refugee crisis in the 90s, when 600 000 people settled here. And we delt with it well. But these people want to go to Germany, or Sweden. Even if the EU deciides on quotas for each country, how will they make them stay in poorer parts of the EU?

      • Sixer says:

        Huge population transfers always cause untold problems, Eastern European nations are getting a lot of tsking on news reports here (which is rich, considering the UK’s response is inadequate) and I was thinking only the other day that I wish someone would put into context what happened the last time there was a mass population transfer after the collapse of Yugoslavia. Nobody ever wants to understand anybody else’s perspective.

        And by the way, if we don’t like what we are seeing now, just wait for the population transfers that occur as global warming starts to bite. Inside and outside of Europe.

      • Franca says:

        The biggest difference in the Yugoslav wars was that the Bosnian refugees who fled to Croatia wanted to stay here. These people don’t. They are on their way to Western Europe, and they don’t want to stop, not even for a few days.

        Some refugees from the Yugoslav wars did flee to Sweden and other countries, but I don’t know about the numbers. The people I know who left Yugoslavia for Germany left in the 70s for economical reasons or were just gastarbaiters who never came back.

      • anon121 says:

        @franca-why don’t the refugees want to stay in your country? That is my question? Are they safe?

      • Franca says:

        Yeah, they are. Croatia is very safe, violent crime rates are lower than in Western Europe. I also don’t think there is that much prejudice against Muslims because Bosnia is our neighbour.
        But our unemployment rates are among the highest in the EU. They want to go to richer countries. That’s one reason. Another is that half of these people first heard of Croatia when they entered it.

      • Sixer says:

        I think also many have connections in Sweden and/or Germany. If not extended family, then people from the same hometown or whatever.

      • EN says:

        @Franca – I’ve been in Croatia, in Dubrovnik. Such a beautiful country and people. I saw memorial plaques on the walls from the bombings during the Yugoslav civil war.
        I was there in summer, and one day there was a ceremony celebrating independence, many people , grown men, cried because the events are so recent and still hurt.
        People who went through a civil war themselves in their memory understand what it is like to have a war in your land, and be desperate.
        Many people in Western countries simply can’t even begin to imagine what it is like.

      • Mary-Alice says:

        Um no, even Sweden is not good enough those days. They want Stockholm not any Sweden. Surely, some will join the gangs in Malmo, to the horror of the population. Overall, they are demonstrating a sligntly worrisome attitude for war refugees. At the same time in the refugee camps there are people who have lived in abysmal conditions for years. They were screened and assessed by the UN. No one seems to care about thembecause they patiently wait. Arrogance must be the key but to what?

      • EN says:

        > They were screened and assessed by the UN. No one seems to care about thembecause they patiently wait. Arrogance must be the key but to what?

        It is not arrogance, it is Darwinism at play, when there is systematic breakdown fairness stops to exist and there is only Darwinian fight for survival. Yes, the pushiest, the strongest, the ones without scruples always end up on the top and they survive first.
        It happens the same way in every war, every revolution.
        It doesn’t mean there aren’t people deserving of help. Behind those thugs are masses of people needing and deserving help.
        And it is up to the countries which have order to organize those masses and ensure fairness where possible. And where not possible, you have to help everyone, or the weakest ones will die.

  4. EN says:

    The story is making rounds everywhere. In this he cannot win.

    He is constantly held up a poshness poster boy, even though he is not really that well off, even Kiera Knightley is much richer than he is, by estimates. And his family is not that posh either.

    But when the guy genuinely tries to help other people, he is criticized again because he is presumed to be too posh to understand concern of other people. Well, so what is he supposed to do? If he does nothing – he is criticized for being privileged. If he tries to help – he is criticized for not understanding . At least, he tries and does it with an open heart.

    As for the 4-letter word, yeah, he shouldn’t have said that. And hopefully he’ll be told to keep it under control. Anyway, there are only 2 days of “Hamlet” left.

    • Green Girl says:

      Cursing has brought this story back into the headlines, though. Whether it was deliberate on his end or just said in the heat of the moment, the fact that he’s making these speeches has grabbed headlines again.

    • vilebody says:

      I actually think this goes to show how “posh” and out of touch he really is. He doesn’t have to worry about the consequences of tens of thousands new migrants because they won’t be affecting his neighborhood, job, or wages. Instead, it’s the poor guy who just got laid off from work and living in a crappy area that is freaking out about finding a cheap apartment and new job with such an influx of people.

      TL;DR: The rich can afford to be moralistic and patronizing, while the poor/average joe is the one stuck with the practicalities and consequences.

      • EN says:

        But he is not just moralizing, he is helping. The coldness of people really gets me – they say , he should give his house to refugees.
        Ok, he can help 10-20 personally. But who is going to help 2 millions? It is just a cop out on people’s part.

        And in the broader perspective, UK is and was the main ally of the US in the ME debacle. UK and the US are the direct cause of that refugees crisis, but they chose to hide like ostriches in the sand because they are pretty far away, while closer and poorer countries are forced to deal with the crisis of their making.

        UK is directly responsible for what is happening and should deal with it.

      • Franca says:

        So far the burden of the crisis has fallen on the poorer countries in Europe who weren’t responsible for that mess at all, and can’t deal withbit financially. Apart from Germany, Western Europe just seems like it’s not interested.

      • Cee says:

        EN – raising money only helps in the SR. Respect the fact that some people are worried on what this mass migration will mean to their future prospects. It’s not cold, it’s capitalism at it’s best – everything is a competition and there aren’t resources for everyone.

        Now, if Europe agreed on equal cuotas, this would be a different conversation. But most refugees are undocumented, anyone could be getting in and good luck getting them out when they happen to be dodgy or a threat. What about countries in the East? Why aren’t rich arab/muslim countries helping at all? Why is Europe and the Americas the only ones that should be responsible?

        I was in Austria, Germany, Hungary and the Czech Republic a month ago and saw first hand what’s going on. People want to help but they’re scared of the consequences, and that should be respected.
        People like Benedict Cumberbatch will never have to deal with those consequences. Which is why people are “angry” at him. Their responses are not cold, IMO, just real.

      • EN says:

        @Franca – yes, exactly, it Is Eastern European countries, Turkey ( well, Turkey is deep in this mess), Greece ( Greece is barely functional itself), Italy who have to deal with it.

        I think Merkel is more understanding because she went through unification of Germany, she is from Eastern Germany and experienced herself what it means to go through a major upheaval and system breakdown.

      • Sochan says:

        @ vilebody

        Love your comment, too. I’m basically reading this fascinating thread and posting where I like someone else’s comments. This is a really hot topic and I have many, many thoughts on it that probably wouldn’t be appreciated here.

      • EN says:

        > People like Benedict Cumberbatch will never have to deal with those consequences. Which is why people are “angry” at him. Their responses are not cold, IMO, just real.

        So, what should people do? Nothing? That is what my original question was – would it be better if famous people did nothing? I don’t think so.

      • Cee says:

        @EN – All Bendy did was raise money and go on tirades. Yes, the money helps, of course it does, and good on him for raising it and highlighting the issue.

        But screaming F the politians doesn’t help at all. Some (not all) famous actors like to talk without any knowledge and some of them can’t help doing so, especially when it comes from a position of privilege (and no, this isn’t a discussion on whether he is posh or not). The Cumberbatches of this world will not have to deal with the consequences. He will still have a job, he will not have to rely on benefits to pay bills and utilities, he will always have a house and his child(ren) will have a place at good schools and not wait months (and sometimes years) for a bed at a NHS hospital.

        So I applaud the Benedict Cumberbatches of the world raising money for a cause and stressing that something has to be done. But let’s not pretend that’s enough.

        Rant over.

      • Franca says:

        I am watching the news as we speak – around 6000 people entered Croatia today, bit Slovenia and Austria are letting people trough the border very slowly because Germany is letting around 50 people trough per hour. People are getting very unruly, and it’s also problematic that most of them don’t speak English. That just shows that, of Germany closednit’s borders, all hell would break loose.

      • vilebody says:

        @EN — First things first, ISIS and Assad, and those two alone, are directly responsible. You can argue that the UK is indirectly responsible, but in truth refugees have been fleeing from the Middle East for centuries–due to its historical significance, it has never been an area of peace. Moreover, a vast majority of the migrants are not from Syria, but from other places looking for economic opportunities. Not that I blame them (I would do the same in their shoes), but it is an important distinction when discussing “blame.”

        Second of all, I think actors should do their job and act and leave the political decisions to the politicians. This is not a simple problem and cannot be solved with a simple solution. It is no coincidence that the countries that have accepted the largest number of migrants are now those facing bankruptcy. It is no coincidence that those most against immigration are of the low and working class. Like Communism, open acceptance of migrants is a wonderful idea that can, nonetheless, have devastating and unforeseen effects. I do not fault–or curse at–politicians for being cautious with this issue.

      • Arpeggi says:

        @CEE The vast, and really vast majority of refugees are staying in Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Irak and Turkey. The arabic countries are doing more than their share, especially considering the Palestinian refugee camps that they also have had to take care for the past 60 years. Europe received far less refugees than arabic countries and Canada and the USA are doing a freakin’ poor job at helping. If you’re wondering why oil monarchies like Saudi Arabia, the Emirates or Qatar aren’t helping then the answer is that those have always been greedy selfish states where a human life doesn’t matter much unless that person is part of the royal family; any democratic country should try to do better than them (and stop calling them our allies but we won’t since we’re addicted to oil).

        The current refugee crisis is directly linked to the clusterf&$k Europe and North America (plus Australia and N-Z) created in the ME, we are responsible for settingthe grounds for ISIS to rise to power, we are responsible for Assad staying in place for so long, we haven’t helped much in the last 4 years, but we want the oil. So the least we can and should do is to help those that had to leave this hell we created. If things become stable, many wmight want to go back home, this is a temporary solution. But we can’t leave the burden of the crisis to the bordering countries, it’s unfair.

      • Sixer says:

        At present, Lebanon’s population is one-third refugee. One-third! It is a poor country. And the funding for those refugees from the international community – both for international agencies like UNHCR and the World Food Programme AND charitable funding – is at about 25% of what is needed. Hundreds of thousands of refugees in Lebanon are having all help withdrawn – food vouchers, fuel vouchers, work permits, etc.

        If they can’t survive in the region, is it any wonder people try to come to Europe?

      • anon121 says:

        @Cee-spot on comments about the other middle east countries not helping out. Maybe they know more than we do? And I haven’t heard much about migrant crisis in Bulgaria or Romania-is anyone even going there? How about Cechnya or one of the “-stans”-aren’t those Muslim nations? Kind of speaks to wanting the perks of the richer nations.

    • Betti says:

      While on one hand hats off for speaking out about the issue (he has history of getting involved) – on the other he’s at risk of becoming another Russell Brand, another celebrity ‘anarchist’ (or whatever) that became a joke when it transpired he was a tax dodger – so much for the rights of the working man.

      When celebrities get involved in politics its a double edge sword – at some he will fall on it.

  5. aims says:

    With the incoming election approaching and the ugliness of it all, I too, say F the politicians.

  6. Decorative Item says:

    Cursing rarely helps any situation, but I understand the passion and frustration. And yes, most of the refugees, (99.999%) are victims but, on the other hand, bad people don’t have a problem taking advantage of bad situations. Part of the governments job is too defend it’s people and you know if they let everyone in and something happens they will be crucified for that.Still, that’s a chance that has to be taken because when civilized society refuses to help others in need we are no longer civilized. It’s all so tragic.

    • Mary-Alice says:

      Proof for the 99.9% are war refugees amd victims, please. I oppose your numbers.

      • Decorative Item says:

        I was simply saying that most of the refugees are IN FACT victims of war. I also said bad people will take advantage of the situation. Are you trying to tell me MOST of the refugees are not victims?

  7. lower-case deb says:

    i’m still waiting for people to call him him out, that she “doesnt respect his statement because it comes from a place of anger”. because Benedict is “not very polite. there’s a way to talk that comes from a place of love and openness.”

    on a slightly different tangent. expat at the office, who is as old as the hills, commented “if you know how badly the countey treated the Gurkhas, who -fought- for Britain, and other soldiers from the colonies, i don’t understand why everyone’s surprised at how bad the country at those refugees.”

    he used to be a civil servant in those days and until today tried to do what he can for the gurkhas. i love hearing his young intrepid stories (as he calls them). he still donate, march, etc as much as he could.

    and you know he used to be an old school civil servant because he ends his rant always with “but it could be worse”

    • Fishfishbirdcats says:

      I get what you mean, Deb. There were a few comments about his anger and swearing. And just one f@ck? I must have a high tolerance for swearing. Also, I loved your story about your elderly friend.

  8. seesittellsit says:

    There are so many complex, interrelated issues here and in classic rich celebrity fashion, Cumberbatch ignores the complexities. Britain has two million unemployed and is projecting a rise in homelessness, child poverty, and the numbers of the working poor. Its population is projected to grow by ten million over the next 20 years, it is not in Germany’s position, and most of the electorate, which the gov knows perfectly well, does not want a huge influx of migrants. For my sins, I read Marx’s “Democracy and the Welfare State”, and Marx stated quite clearly that you can have a successful welfare state or open borders/mass immigration, but you can’t have both, and eventually the poor and working class in the host countries will bear the socialization of the disadvantages. Cumbers is an actor. I appreciate him caring, but it would be nice if put his ire where it really belongs: on a government that isn’t doing enough for children already IN Britain. BTW, London’s water supply is projected to exceed demand by more than 10% within ten years. Ben’s child will never wait two weeks to see a doctor in the NHS, which is crumbling, his lovely neighbourhood will remain posh, his family will never be impacted by a weakening benefits system. The numbers in this crisis are staggering. There are many complex, interrelated issues here, and there are people who will suffer at both of the sharp ends – none of whom will be named Cumberbatch.

    I just wish celebs who care would inform themselves a bit more about complexity of these issues. I appreciate Cumberbatch caring, but I could wish he denounced the government for all the things it has failed to do for its own citizens. And the foul language is just adolescent; it’s not what makes a powerful case.

    • InvaderTak says:

      Great comment. Things like his little speech are only adding to the hysteria, not the solution. I can’t help but feel that when people go off like this they’re doing for their own benefit more so than to actually try to help. Now you can say that they are “outspoken about x issue” which seems to be enough to get them cred as “involved” without actually lifting a finger. (People in general, not just BC) Slacktiivism: London theater edition. Even the way it was reported sounds like a review of a theater performance.

    • Sixer says:

      Additionally, to this I would add: refugees are almost always settled in areas where public services are under most strain. They won’t be squeezing out public housing or school places in Kensington and Chelsea, or any of the leafy suburbs.

      Poshie celebs have NO understanding of intersecting inequality.

      (Not that I disagree that the UK response is woeful. I think it is woeful.)

      • dippit says:

        @Sixer – I agree that 20,000 (over five years) as a commitment is woeful. However I expect that figure to adjust upwards in practise (and over time) but inflammatory and uninformed outbursts in inappropriate settings (a la Cumberbatch) might make that a harder political sell to the British public, than less so. I’m not a natural defender of the current Government, but I agree with their intention to accept claims for asylum from those in displaced persons camps in the region only (all manner of reasons, not least limiting the danger through people smuggling and the ‘pull factors’). Also, many, including Cumberbatch, seem to be ignoring that the amount of foreign aid provided by the UK Government to agencies working with conflict migrants (in Region) amounts to more than the combined(!) totals committed by the other top seven wealthiest nations in Europe.

        I have every compassion and have long been personally. in various ways, put actions where my mouth is on such matters, but you and I both know that simply (and over simplified) out-pouring compassion rarely come with much nuance.

        As it is, individual governments in Europe (and as a unit in terms of EU member state terms) do have an obligation (in the name of humanity alone but also by accord, convention, and treaty) to assist in any way possible. However, they also have an obligation to act in such a way as to ensure safety, security, and maintenance of rights and freedoms for existing citizens within their own countries/Europe. Unchecked mass migration, poorly managed and driven by over-simplified outcries of compassion encouraging knee-jerk responses (see Merkel’s now proven to be utterly impractical and unachievable ‘open door’), will fail all concerned – legitimate asylum-seekers (to register claim for refugee status), other migrants (seeking claim but of an provably economic – potentially fraudulent – nature), AND current citizens of Europe.

        * “Migrant” – two basic definitions/categories (whether the migration is regarded as ‘legal’ OR ‘illegal’) – an individual who moves from their country of official nationhood to another for: 1/ reason of social, political, or family reunification (seeking asylum falls under this); 2/ for economic reasons. There are sub categories and one basic does not preclude the other as a motivator (pull factor) but that’s the rough.

        “Asylum Seeker” – a migrant seeking safety, protection, and refuge (under International laws and conventions) in a third-party state due to fear of coming to harm (by reason of conflict, political/religious/etc persecution, etc) if they are to remain within their own nation-state.

        “Refugee” – an individual who has been (after having registered and assessed in an asylum claim to a third-party state) given leave to remain WITH full according of rights.

        Bullet pointy and more complex but enough right now.

        So, perhaps Cumberbatch might like to consider his understanding of terms (all of which would correctly apply to Europeans on the move were any situations to arise likewise) and further consider other aspects before “F*** you… ” as default causes more harm than good.

        *UN figures estimate 75% of those migrants having entered Europe (illegally) in recent months are lone males (aged 18-50) without dependants.

        *Official agencies allow that most migrants are entering through an illegal network of human traffickers/carriers. They are either without any form of papers or id, OR in most cases have destroyed any papers or given them up to the people smugglers for future fraudulent/counterfeit uses.

        * Whilst the procedures/centres put in place to allow for registration for asylum claims are woefully under provisioned, it is acknowledged that few (the majority) of those entering Europe do not actively wish to register at first point of entry (IF at all). Volume (force) of number has already led to 100,000s being given unchecked passage through many of the less wealthy states of Southern/Eastern Europe allowing circumvention of not just the long standing Schengen and Dublin Conventions BUT also bypassing of many of the newer ad hoc measures put in place to manage this mass migration flow.

        * Current estimates (with increasing evidence) indicate that more than 1 in 3 (particularly within the 75% abled bodied young men cohort) currently making their way through Europe (frequently acting in force and aggressively if challenged to stop and register) are NOT from countries currently in recognised conflict. For example, many are failing to allow their claims to be tested and, of those who are investigated, TOO many are proven (through language/dialect/accent assessment and knowledge of their ‘nationality of claim’) to be fraudulently asserting nationalities not credibly their own.

        * Many of the lone young men migrants are further refusing to be located in centres not of their “demand or choosing” when being offered safe haven. Sweden in particular has seen many migrants become obstructive if placed in temporary locations in more remote parts of the country (despite their being full provision of above minimum standards for accommodation and provisions).

        * Centres are experiencing high levels of inner antagonism (and violence) between different nationality or denominational groupings. Whilst conditions may not be luxurious (as being temporary as peoples’ needs are assessed and best provided for – there is no unlimited resourcing of a magic wand), they ought to be safe for those given the opportunity for further consideration of right to remain. Factions within the migrant flow are themselves compromising such safety for all. Those being most compromised are the ones for whom the most compassion might be reserved by most Europeans – women fleeing sexual violence, dependant children, and the elderly and infirm.

        * Sexual violence and denial of European standard rights of equality and freedoms for women are already becoming manifest – both within migrant Centres and outwith in the wider host communities of European villages, towns, and cities.

        * Despite overwhelming numbers, volunteers, government agencies, and other groups of Hosts are endeavouring to be sensitive to the differing cultural and religious mores of the majority of migrants. However, increasing evidence suggests that many (again usually in the young male cohort) are less than keen to observe a mutual respect for the generally understood cultural mores of their hosting European nations; most particularly in regard views over gender equalities and freedoms. There is only a point up to which compassion and correct sensitivity can limit a necessary “when in Rome… “. This in particular is fuelling anti-migrant fears amongst many, understandably, wishing to welcome legitimate asylum seekers but not see and unbearable limiting of their own rights and social welfare as a consequence.

        I could go on, I’ve perhaps gone on too long. BUT, those advocating an over-simplified wholesale ‘compassion is all’ (unthinkingly) and lauding “F*** you politicians” as an effective way to motivate in the need for complex solutions… I’m not with you. Not because I don’t feel compassion, not because I don’t get heart sick and angry, not because I’m sitting twiddling my thumbs or navel gazing, certainly NOT because I’m some non-liberal Righty (so far off the mark); simply because I believe being seen to appear to rail against the Establishment isn’t the same as being informed enough to become a credible ‘voice’ in effecting solutions to complex problems… even if that voice is loud because a theatre box office has sold out.

      • Sixer says:


        I confess: TL;DR. Sorry. I did read the first and last bits though! Can we take it that I’m probably familiar with the arguments in the middle? Obnoxious, I know. Sorry again!

        Ok. Where do we diverge?

        I certainly think the UK can hold its head up high with regard to in-situ aid. There was an Oxfam analysis recently and, going by GDP, UK in-situ aid was at about 150% of our “fair share” contribution. American readers, take note: yours is so embarrassing I won’t type it here!

        I think our difference is this: all the principled arguments in the world don’t count for me when a tsunami of desperate people are ALREADY HERE. I get the incentivising of trafficking argument. I do. But people are ALREADY HERE. And I think their immediate and desperate need should take priority.

        What I would say is that when Benny puts out a charity single #helpiscoming, it makes me want to bang my head against a wall. Not in the UK it isn’t. What is coming for those people who do make it here is this: right wing media demonisation; hostility from a significant proportion of the population; a support service on its knees thanks to government cuts; the Orwellian Prevent surveillance; a welfare pittance that wouldn’t feed a field mouse; a prohibition on working and earning money of your own; likely deportation for children as soon as they turn 18.

        No, Benny, #helpisnotcoming. And where do you stand on tax credits?

      • InvaderTak says:

        @Dippit: Your last paragraph is dead on and way more eloquent than what I can come up with.

      • dippit says:

        HeHe Sixer, not obnoxious at all – believe me, were I not me, there’s times I probably wouldn’t read me when I went off on a wee TL post run. And yes, having read (sometimes posted with you enough) you recently… I’m more than happy to assume you as aware of the bits I laid out and more. Also, yes, I agree with your points and understand your emphasis.

        Two-pronged (actually multi-pronged and cross-cutting) approach is needed in the HERE and NOW. Stable door, horse bolt territory. But ‘luvvie’ rhetoric (and I absolutely dismiss this as that, however well meant) isn’t helpful in any event. Neither is berating, without enough understanding and knowledge to present or be part of effecting an alternative, politicians mindlessly in a whipping-boy fashion something I rate (even when I don’t particularly support those very same politicians as a rule). It’s p*** and wind, really.

        Some (I’d venture the majority) of Brits/Europeans are increasingly scared as to how this mass migrant influx is already, and will continue, in compromising their ‘way of life’ (loosely termed). Most, I believe, as humans absolutely and fundamentally want to assist and support their governments in assisting those in need. However, with Cumberbatch and others setting adversarial undertones (again, however well intentioned) in plea for unquestioning and unstructured adoption of compassion over necessary management and safeguarding in response to this mass migration, it’s becoming ‘if you’re not for accepting ALL as legitimate refugees, you’re agin and lack compassion, and are de facto a poor specimen of humanity/Brit/European and MUST be Right-Wing, racist, selfish… etc”. Not helpful.

        We’re in a clusterf*** of conflicting emotions, potential remedies, fears, International pressures, lack of resources at home (and for abroad), our own social, welfare, and political problems… and everyone is knee-jerking left, right, and centre. Maintaining the rights, freedoms, and safeties of those already European citizens cannot be suspended in favour of unchecked mass migration; yet, ignoring our natural desire to aide and welcome cannot be made diluted or become absent because too many take to their (easily mounted high-horse) and provoke a, not without some understandable basis, backlash.

        “F*** you… ” risks entrenching a “F*** you right back” response.

        AND, and this is potentially controversial but needs to be recognised, with rights come responsibility. AND, within that dynamic, some burden of responsibility must be asked of those seeking refuge. Europeans need to feel better reassured that their rights and standing are being recognised and not about to be subsumed in political expediency by those elected to represent them… to then become further issues to be ‘crisis managed’ down the line.

        It is increasingly hard for many British citizens to see images of large groups of mainly healthy young men, aggressively assert and demand through-passage to wealthier (cherry picked) countries by ‘right’ as yet untested as legitimate ‘refugees’ AND continue to feel welcoming of them as they sit wondering if they are about to be made redundant, moved to a zero hours contract or find their housing rights compromised. Add to which such issues and demands already that European women/girls adjust their clothing and freedom to go about daily living in order to not cause offence or provoke. Also, long standing public social housing tenants being made homeless in favour of new migrants etc. These are unpopular things to say, things I wish I didn’t have to acknowledge as realities on the back of this… but they are realities and “F*** you… ” angry idealism (especially from an individual least likely to have to confront the conflicts inherent in those realities as part of their foreseeable daily life) does not help us ALL keep head, heart, and soul pointing towards the most compassionate and effective way in this.

      • Mary-Alice says:

        Dippit, standing ovation. I didn’t have the patience to type it all again.

      • InvaderTak says:

        *Stands, applauds dippit* Well said.

      • anon121 says:

        @Dippitt-thank-you for your posts. You communicated an enormous swath of my thoughts in a way much more eloquently than I ever could. There’s a real crisis here and I think attention needs to be paid immediately into the process by which these people, especially these lone males, disperse throughout Europe. And Europeans need to be a little less ready to be so acclimating. You really need to remind these people that it is your country. They are not in a position to demand. Give in once, and – you know. NEVER forget that there is a segment that will never rest until there is a world-wide Caliphate.

      • Justme says:

        Wow! @dippit. That is the most coherent comment (actually two comments) on this entire question that I have seen written anywhere. I had begun to post yesterday, but withdrew my post because I could not phrase it properly. You have done so with rare eloquence. Thank you

    • s says:

      Karl Marx? He never wrote that one.

      • seesittellsit says:

        Amy Guttman wrote it and quoted Marx extensively – typing too fast, I should have clarified. For the record, economists at both ends of the political spectrum have pointed out the same thing: mass immigration crashes benefits systems.

    • Jenna says:

      Yes to all of this! We need to take in refugees because Blair’s actions are responsible for the clusterfuck that is Syria, and we can’t cause chaos and then back off when it inevitably spirals into further misery. But it is also an inevitability that refugees will be placed in areas in the UK that are already struggling in terms of employment, hospitals and schools. They’re not going to be housed in fancy, champagne socialist London.

      It’s tacky for somebody of Cumberbatch’s ilk to say this stuff when neither he nor his family will ever have to face the realities of the situation or the side effects of mass immigration. It’s not as simple as “refugees need help, let them all in.”

      • seesittellsit says:

        @Jenna – too true, this. The first wave of migrants that the UK took in are slated for Bradford (currently listed as the most dangerous city in England, and composed mostly of greatly segregated ethnic communities) and Rochdale. Rochdale in 2010 had the highest number of adults on job seeker allowance in the Greater Manchester area.

        It is, of course, much cheaper to house migrants in the industrial north, which is economically the stepchild of England. But regardless, Britain’s population is exploding – it will surpass Germany’s very soon. Whether you are talking about Manchester or London, everyone wants to live in the big cities where the jobs and services are. Believe me, none of the migrants want to be “resettled” in East Anglia! But it’s a safe bet none of them will be housed in Primrose Hill, where Ed Miliband lives, next to Hampstead where Cumberbatch lives, or Clapham Crescent, where so many leftwing politicians live . . . or in the leafy suburbs of Bucklebury where the Middletons had their large charming brick house.

        This is what they mean by the downsides being socialized while the upsides (which will include another influx of low-wage workers further compressing native working class wages) are privatized.

    • Sochan says:

      @ seesittellsit

      LOVE your comment beyond words. Thank you. [Even though I’m anti-Marx, I see your point well]

      • dax says:

        Have you even read anything by Marx?

      • Sochan says:

        @ dax

        Don’t start with me. Stay on topic, please.

      • dax says:

        I am genuinely curious, though. The OP confuses things, you pick it up, so it makes me wonder how can you be anti-Marx without reading Marx?

      • Sochan says:

        @ dax


      • dax says:

        Hail ignorance then?

      • belle de jour says:

        @dax: Thank you for warming the cockles of my primary text-reading heart.

        But you must admit it’s hard to deny the irrefutable authority of someone using all shout caps, putting you in your place by redefining the rules of engagement… then refusing to engage.

      • dax says:

        Belle, right? I mean, you don’t read Marx, no problem, you’re anti-Marx, good for you, but claiming knowledge based on what? Wiki pages? is unacceptable. Millions of Americans do it though. It’s off topic but it riles me up.

      • Sochan says:

        @ dax and belle du jour

        It’s off-topic and a complex topic that deserves more time and space than can be offered in the comments section of a gossip blog. The fact that it “riles you up” is inconsequential and an emotional response. Don’t expect to be able to order people around so your emotional reactions can be fulfilled to your liking.

        LAST word on this. I didn’t have to give you even this much.

      • dax says:

        Um, you didn’t answer my question (noted?)
        I will explain why I asked you directly if you read Marx (which solicited a very easy and short answer, BTW). The comment above referred to a book on welfare written by Marx. Now, it could be another Marx, like Billy Bob Marx or Chuck Marx, but it can’t be the one that matters because the welfare state appeared decades after his death. You happily jumped on it, showing your ignorance. Ignorance, so prevalent on the right side of the American electorate, riles me up because it affects my fate.

      • belle de jour says:

        I come in old-school solidarity, dax. And it’s not a problem that’s getting any better.

        No debate I have either witnessed or participated in has ever benefitted from lack of knowledge – or unwillingness to study and familiarize oneself with primary sources. Nor does an honest debate or discussion benefit from lack of willingness to discuss & verify what one has cited or referenced as proof or collaborative evidence. Nor does it benefit in any way from one of its participants arbitrarily granting themselves the authority to both censor and re-set the original terms of engagement governing all.

        General lack of willingness and confidence and supporting evidence and critical comparative analysis (and it can be done succinctly – but you have to actually know what you are talking about) usually speaks instead of fear and ignorance. It’s always important to consider the source.

        If you can, I would try to take any internet forum shouty caps attempting to shut you down for daring to challenge an incomplete precept (backed up by nothing substantial) as a sure sign you have identified a weakness in both argument and intellectual rigor.

      • belle de jour says:

        @Sochan: If Marxism (and your associated anti-Marxism) is so “off topic” and “complex” that it “deserves more time and space than can be offered in the comments section of a gossip blog” – all your words – I wonder that you bothered to mention it in an offhand manner in your original “off topic” comment on a gossip blog yourself?

        “LAST word on this.”


      • dax says:

        Thanks, Belle.
        Book readers of all countries, unite!

    • Cee says:

      He should be angry at the UK’s response, but he should also be angry at the state some british citizens live in.
      I am only 2nd generation in my own country, and I get the importance of migration, but I also understand that some countries are barely getting on – unemployment, deflated domestic economy, fiscal pressure, declining quality in health and education, etc. No human being is more important than other, but I find it hypocritical of some people to go on tirades against their government only on international crisis but never in internal ones.

      Bendy should be better informed and stick to what he knows.

      • seesittellsit says:

        @dax – Since you seem to present as well versed in Marx, I’m sure you recall Marx’s comment on open borders: “Do you leave all of the doors and windows open so you can be burgled”?

        Marx was also fairly racist in many ways, he was far from perfect and I am not a Marxist though I do take a great interest across the spectrum.

        My real point here is that the numbers are astronomical and anyone, either on the left or right, who insists that there are not several sides to this issue, is engaging in wishful thinking, and that Marx is likely to have raised a similar alarm.

      • dax says:

        And my point is that you confused the authorship of the book you mentioned. No biggie.

    • EN says:

      I am not an expert on Marx, but I think his take on this would’ve been – welcome these poor masses, expose the dirty underbelly of capitalism and let them all rise up together against the oppression and the bourgeoisie.

      Another related lesson is that if you wait too long, and don’t do anything to help the desperate people in need, eventually everything blows up in a spectacular fashion because people have nothing left to lose. Europe might be close to that point in some areas and this is why people are scared. But the right thing to do is to take action before it is too late, show compassion to negate the anger, not ignore it.

      • seesittellsit says:

        Actually, that wouldn’t have been Marx’s take on it, he warned against open borders. All migrants aren’t angels, and it is the proletariat who will pay the price for mass immigration, not the bourgeoisie.

      • EN says:

        The thing you cited though, it isn’t Karl Marx’s book, is it some scientific book/ article by somebody else?
        Marx’s main book is “The Capital”. And I never got an impression from it that he separated Germans from anybody else in his views. All workers were allies in his view.
        Where did Marx warn against open borders? I’d like to see the context?

        I am a believer in the united world at some point down the road, may be 200-500 years from now. Even now we are seeing breakdowns of the borders. The world gets closer and closer together. This is why there is so much conflict, the world is changing and very fast.

      • vilebody says:

        @EN — Actually, Marx was against immigration. Like sessittellsit said, he believed that immigrants lowered the wages of the working class, thus causing more inequality and weakening the power of the people. For example, he had some choice words on the Irish and Chinese working in England.

        @Dax and Belle — Trying to play “gotcha” with an internet stranger who easily could have lied but instead decided not to engage is sad. (S)he didn’t answer the question because you then would have wanted proof for another ten comments. Having a debate on Marx on a Friday afternoon during a workday is a sign of loneliness or unemployment, not a sign of “intellectual vigor.”

      • dax says:

        Did you really now?
        Did you try to sway this argument into an ad hominem? Really?

        It’s not just the body that’s vile then.

  9. Lilacflowers says:

    Raising money and awareness is very nice but has he made an effort to convey his concerns to his elected representatives directly? Other than swearing at all of them in a crowded theater?

    • EN says:

      Did ever work for you? Contacting your representatives?
      The only time it works is when you are a rich donor or when you get the swell of public opinion on your side, otherwise you are simply ignored. Cumberbatch is raising awareness, and that will force the politicians to act.

      • InvaderTak says:

        So now that everyone has their awareness raised and are aware of the problem, is anyone AWARE of a long term SOLUTION? Politicians acting in response to public hysteria driven by impassioned speeches always turns out so well.

      • EN says:

        > So now that everyone has their awareness raised and are aware of the problem, is anyone AWARE of a long term SOLUTION? Politicians acting in response to public hysteria driven by impassioned speeches always turns out so well.

        The long term SOLUTION is to stop meddling where you are not welcome, i.e. other countries, without understanding the long term consequences.

        The solution for what has already happened is to accept and place the refugees as required by international law. Especially, in case of countries directly responsible for this.

        UK is only accepting 20 thousand (I think US so far accepted like 2 thousand) . UK can accept half a million and nothing will happen. UK is a very rich country. If you think you are not rich, then you simply have no idea how the rest of the world lives.

      • Lilacflowers says:

        Yes, it has worked for me and I have testified several times at congressional hearings and dozens of times at federal and state regulatory hearings. When large numbers of people contact an elected official directly, they have to respond or be answerable for it at the voting booth. That is the basic premise of the US system. BTW, every letter to a congressional office must be preserved as part of the public record and available through FOIA. Congress cannot legally be held accountable for failing to respond to outside noise but can be legally held accountable for failing to respond to the established process

      • EN says:

        > When large numbers of people contact an elected official directly, they have to respond or be answerable for it at the voting booth

        Yes, exactly. When there is a force of public opinion it counts. But one person can do nothing, it needs to be a broad public support. That is why public support and awareness have to be built first. I participated in some actions l and petitions myself. Not that it made any difference in my case since I am a liberal living in Texas. ))

        I remember the run up to the Iraq war very well. And I knew it was going to be a major disaster on many fronts. But I didn’t even dare to speak to anyone because I didn’t want to be labeled a “traitor” given that I am a naturalized citizen.

      • Sixer says:

        @ Lilac

        It is similar here. MPs are obliged to respond to each contact from a constituent. There has been a House of Commons Select Committee hearing evidence on this refugee crisis from a variety of witnesses.

        The problem here is as much intra-EU disagreement as failures on the part of the UK government, you know?

        For an indication on the views of the British public, it’s always worth looking at the official government petitions. Currently, we are at:

        “Accept more asylum seekers and increase support for refugee migrants in the UK” 442,088 signatures

        “Stop allowing immigrants into the UK” 200,987 signatures

        So I think it’s reasonable to say that a majority want us to do more.

      • Mary-Alice says:

        “The solution for what has already happened is to accept and place the refugees as required by international law. ”

        Certainly. Only the refugees though. Not the economic migrants, predominantly working age men, travelling solo and demonstrating an attitude unacceptable in any democratic country with laws and rights established. If we accept only the refugees, there will be no crisis, EN. Because the majority of this mass in Europe now is not war refugees. And call me racist and whatever but when the women from my family are facing assaults and my otherwise quiet and beautiful neighbourhood suffers rape because”we dress to provoke”, sorry but no, I don ‘t want them.

      • s says:

        Holly cow, Mary Alice, do you have concrete stories where refugees assaulted women in your family?

        And any Syrian refugees raped people in your neighborhood?

        Cause if you don’t, yeah, I’m going to call you a despicable racist.

      • anon121 says:

        Mary-Alice-excellent point. I’d we weed out the single men who are NOT Syrian refugees, then we all could do a better job at helping them. And S-if you read Mary Alice’s comment properly you would have realized that she was talking about the NON Syrian refugees. You know-like the 200 Somali men who stormed the Chunnel a few weeks back? Who are making Calais dangerous? Terrorizing female Syrian refugees? Yeah-those guys.

      • Solanacaea (Nighty) says:

        Portugal is receiving only complete families, though honestly I have no idea where they’ll find jobs, since unemployment rate is actually around 20%. They are being relocated in smaller villages to repopulate them (northern part of the country) and in the south also. Two of the poorest regions of the country. I have no idea how that’s going to turn out. Where I’m living (south) they are already arriving. Considering that half a million portuguese have left the country to go to Germany, UK and other countries around the world in the last 4 years, I honestly have no idea how we’re going o help them. It’s true, we’re receiving only 5 thousand, an we must help them. Just wonder how…

      • Lilacflowers says:

        @mary-alice, I grew up here the term “economic migrants” applied to those who didn’t fit the preferred description of those using the term, usually on the basis of race, ethnicity, or religion. Arguably, anyone who is fleeing a situation where their lives are in peril or there is no food/water/safe shelter for them actually becomes an economic migrant.

    • Zapp Brannigan says:

      Well he said he wants to sit down with Theresa May and discuss government inaction, she was asked about this and she told the press she was never contacted by him or his people.

      I have a great deal of empathy for those who are suffering in this crisis but like others said here it will not be Cumberbatch or people like him who will suffer with an influx of refugees it will be those who are already marginalised in society.

      • Lilacflowers says:

        @ZappBranigan, and that’s where I take issue with him. I don’t question that Lord Smarmy Otter’s heart is in the right place. It is. He has raised lots of money and, if used properly, it will help a good number of needy people. I don’t need him taking refugees into his home and he would need a great deal of exposure to other facets of life to understand all that is at play here. But railing at politicians and claiming he wants to meet with one and putting the lack of such a meeting on her, when it can be easily verified that he has made no effort at contact through the proper channels, damages his credibility. And the busy with Hamlet position doesn’t work. Theresa May is probably far more busy than he is.

    • Lindy79 says:

      Honestly, how is this different to when Bono stood up at his concerts and started talking about Africa? He got lambasted for that.

      Apparently, if the press are to be believed, he said he would but he or his reps have yet to make contact.

      “‘Government is not doing enough,’ he said. ‘I’d like to sit down with Theresa May and get a full understanding of how her political economic model works . . . that there is virtually a zero degree of financial benefit from an immigrant population.’
      Strangely, Home Secretary May insisted last week she is still yet to hear from the actor.”

      Granted that could be because he’s really busy doing Hamlet. I hope that he does continue to use his voice to get something done, he has access to politicians and a public forum in a way that the lay person simply doesn’t.

      Time will tell.

      • Betti says:

        As much as Sir Bob irritates me – he put his money where his mouth is, not just for Band Aid and Africa but with the refugee crisis – he opened one of his homes and gave money.

      • Lilacflowers says:

        Bono was lambasted but he learned he had to do more than just make statements at concerts. He put his butt into classes on global economics at Harvard and started approaching global leaders with respect for differing opinions with a goal to working towards common ground.

      • J says:

        she said she herself never “viewed” a request personally yet. whether he made one to her office is another matter entirely. she was very careful there and tbh i noticed because it made me laugh, it was politician-speak

        she did say he met with her over another matter in the past. while I’d never heard of that, apparently, yes, he does try to talk to them, we just don’t hear about it

    • Sixer says:

      Ok. To be fair to Benny.

      The UK response to this crisis really is woeful. As someone said above, as European cheerleaders for Western ME intervention, we do bear a large(r) degree of responsibility towards this awful flood of desperate people. He’s not wrong there.

      And, as I understand it, he’s using these speeches to raise money for Save the Children, who are running two funds: one for the camps in the region (Lebanon, etc) and one for the children of refugees en route. And I think this particular speech was driven by the reports coming out of Lesbos recently, which are horrific, and where the politicians have literally done nothing even though Greece, as a country is already on its knees. Read the article linked in this tweet (can’t manage a link to the original, sorry):

      I mean, in this context, “f*ck the politicians” doesn’t seem so unreasonable, does it?

      I agree with what other people are saying about slacktivism and intersecting inequality (since we’re not even looking after our own) but y’know. He’s not an out-and-out wanker nor an out-and-out ignoramus for doing this.

      • Sochan says:

        It’s an inexcusable, childish outburst — and yes, unreasonable. As usual Ben’s way of expressing himself is to feign outrage in an attempt to come across passionate and impassioned. That’s why he experiences backlash. It’s not because of his actual position. Remember the stupid hand-written notes he shoved at paps while walking around covered head to toe? It’s just arrogant, and it supersedes his message every time.

      • Die Doekje says:

        Wonderfully nuanced comment, thank you (and the link just made me donate).

    • Lilacflowers says:

      @Sixer, thank you. With such numbers, yes, the politicians deserve some flack for inaction but I doubt swearing at them from a stage after a Shakespeare play will have any impact. For the record, I think the US response, or lack thereof, is maddening but I don’t expect change because the anti-everybody crowd is more adept at filling congressional mailboxes with their hateful screeds and filling congressional seats with like-minded butts than the more rational among us.

      • Sixer says:

        Not that I wish to be a Benny apologist in the slightest, but I would say this: I’ve spoken on here before about the level of utter contempt the political class is held in on this side of the Pond. I think “f*ck the politicians” is probably less strong of a statement than it may appear. It’s um… almost the mode of public discourse, I’m afraid!

      • Lilacflowers says:

        I do think his heart is in the right place and he (and his fans) have raised a great deal of money to help refugees and I do understand the frustration with politicians. I’ve been screaming a similar phrase for years every time I see John Boehner or Paul Ryan on a television screen. But when I swear at politicians in the privacy of my home, they don’t know and I’m not publicly appealing to them to do something. If I were to make a public statement, I would clean it up considerably because I know that otherwise, they won’t hear what I’m saying past the swearing. They just tune it all out as not being reasonable.

  10. Miss Jupitero says:

    Good for him. I am glad to hear from an actor who is willing to risk expressing a real opinion about something that matters and show what he really feels.

    • Sochan says:

      Risk?? LMAO. What is this man “risking”?

      I can’t with this.

      • Miss Jupitero says:

        Verily you do have quite the boner for this man, way out of proportion with anything he has said or done.


        For myself I am always glad to see celebrities who will say what they really think as opposed to filtering everything through layers of PR agents. I believe his heart is really in this.

      • Sochan says:

        You didn’t answer my question. Noted.

      • Miss Jupitero says:

        You seem to have a real boner for BC and a major chip on your shoulder. Do you really not understand what I said?

        Is it really that difficult to understand “celebrities who will say what they really think as opposed to filtering everything through layers of PR agents” i.e., celebrities who play it safe?

        Since I cannot believe that you are really having trouble understanding the concept, I have to conclude you just have a hair up your ass. Based on your other posts in this thread, I think that is an accurate assessment.

      • J says:

        his image, public backlash and the ire of a government and right-wing press that already didn’t like him

        he;’d be better off keeping quiet, yes. +1 MJ

  11. Sochan says:

    This guy, I swear.

    He has not ONE clue of what he speaks. Is he willing to take a refugee family into his large posh home with his wife and child? If not, he should STFU.

    I’m gonna leave it at that (really just adding my voice to the fray) because there are so many better comments here from people actually living through and seeing the difficulties and challenges of an influx of migrants, refugees, and the burden of a growing welfare state across Europe.

    • EN says:

      Yep, that is the argument against helping – let Cumberbatch take a family in.
      What if he does, will you change your mind then? What about the other million families?

      • Die Doekje says:


      • Sochan says:

        HE IS NOT HELPING. He is smacking a wall and cursing like a child.

        YES, I would change my mind. Do you honestly think it’s unreasonable to expect someone who CLAIMS to feel passion for what he feels is a great injustice to respond to this injustice by taking in a homeless refugee family into his large dwellings?? If the refugee case is TRULY desperate then desperate times call for desperate measures, right? If he can’t take in a family, would he be willing to pay for an apartment for a family? Let me see ACTION and not just a childish PR stunt.

      • EN says:

        > HE IS NOT HELPING. He is smacking a wall and cursing like a child.

        You know, they actually did collect some money for the fund at that Hamlet run. And he did a charity thing on Sunday. So, that is not helping?

        >injustice by taking in a homeless refugee family into his large dwellings??

        Which large dwellings? I had an impression he lives in a flat in London. He is not Donald Trump.

      • InvaderTak says:

        Yes I would change my mind actually. He can’t help the millions, but he did help that one. Because that’s what is going to happen to many others; their neighborhoods are going to take the refugees in whether they want to or not. In his outburst he pawns off the responsibility for the care and placement of the refugees on the same politicians he’s cussing out while not changing his life at all. Bono, for all his grandstanding, has opened his home and his wallet and gotten together with politicians; that I can respect.

      • EN says:

        > Yes I would change my mind actually.

        It will change your mind about Cumberbatch, but would it change your mind about helping?
        You are not saying , are you, that all it will take for people to change their minds about helping refugees is Cumberbatch taking a family in? That the fate of Syrian crisis rests on Cumberbatch?
        This is why that original argument presented by Sochan is a cop out.

      • Miss Jupitero says:

        He has raised 150k for one of the most effective charities out there that is addressing this crisis. On top of his other charitable work. I know people work fulltime at this who can’t pull that off.

        What exactly have you done lately?

      • InvaderTak says:

        @EN: You’re putting words in my mouth. I never EVER said the the refugees shouldn’t be helped. IMO, the best help for them is a plan. My point throughout this board is that you cannot help that many people over the course of decades without a plan and system. A rushed response by authorities to the outcry made by bleeding heart people screaming “help them!” will only make things worse for everyone. I take huge issue with people who “raise awareness” of an issue and are then dumbstruck when asked what their possible solution to the problem is.

        My gripe with BC is that he made a speech about how the GOVERNMENT should do something about it, while apparently doing nothing himself, or even offering ideas as to HOW to go about helping. I have no patience for people who do this; demand aid for group x by demanding that group y give it to them while they don’t even contribute and then the added arrogance that they expect their lives to be unaffected in the long run. So yes, hypothetically speaking his taking in of a refugee family or sponsoring them or whatever would change my opinion of him. Right now he’s well within the slacktivist category. The idea that all it could take is BC taking in a family would change the whole crisis is utterly ridiculous and I have no idea how you got that from my comment. It would change my opinion of HIM and him alone. Outcry is not participation IMO. This issue extends further than just BC, he’s just the current iteration of it. This attitude is prevalent everywhere and it infuriates me to no end. The refugees don’t need tears and sympathy from us; they need food, shelter, water and a stable environment for the future. That takes planning, discussion etc. Resources aren’t infinite. Asking for a pragmatic approach to a crisis doesn’t mean I don’t want to help or think that people shouldn’t help.

        I’m glad his charity is doing so well. That’s great and not for nothing. I still can’t get behind his outburst. He could have used that time to further the charity, meaning DOING something but no he decided to make a useless speech about politicians. That’s where he lost me.

      • EN says:

        > My gripe with BC is that he made a speech about how the GOVERNMENT should do something about it, while apparently doing nothing himself

        But apparently he is doing something. This is why it all started. He is helping and asking others to help and for that he gets attacked. That is not “doing nothing”.

      • InvaderTak says:

        He is participating in a charity that participates in giving aid. That is a good thing yes, I’m not denying that or saying that it isn’t enough. In reality, it was probably off the cuff and the intended point he was trying to make got lost. He was very probably going for an appeal for people to do something and to care about this issue, but expressing his outrage for the gov’s handling of the situation was misplaced and ineffective at causing anything other than outcry. His good works got lost in an immature outburst; which helps nothing and no one and makes the situation worse. Again, outrage is not participation. Making a speech about how much you care is not ultimately going to DO jack.

        A lot of the points I’ve been making are more general gripes with outrage society et al. I got off topic in my tirades a bit.

      • vilebody says:

        @EN — Yes, it actually would change my mind. Why? Because he then would be putting his actions where his mouth is. Letting in migrants at present will not affect him in anyway so he can afford to be charitable. Actually having it affect his life–like it would with the vast majority of the working class–shows that he’s not simply playing a “do as I say, but not as I do” card.

      • Pondering thoughts says:

        It is not about taking a refugee family into your own home.
        It is about organising homes for millions of refugees and be willing to pay your taxes for that.

        @ InvaderTak

        I like your postings. You keep it real. There are millions of refugees coming to Europe (this year alone) and they need to be helped with a long-term plan and not some silly activism like I-take-in-a-refugee-family. They need so many things and they will be needy for a long long long time.

      • Mary-Alice says:

        EN, there are no “million families”. Please, read the demographic reports on the people mass moving through Europe and let’s discuss it then. You are jumping in defense of working age men, mainly, travelling alone, refusing to register, and picking countries to settle in. Doesn’t sound exactly like war refugees, does it?

      • J says:

        per the UN demo report, as of this month, it’s about 1/2 male and 1/2 female. 1/3 overall are children. Only 22 % are working age men.

        mary-alice, what you’re talking about is the 72 % male figure used on right-wing websites, which–surprise, surprise–is misleading. that percentage represents the 700,000 or so people from various countries trying to reach europe by sea, and only half are from Syria. that demo has changed now too, as it’s now 65% male and 35 % women/kids by sea.

      • Lilacflowers says:

        @J, thank you for that very helpful link.

  12. greenmonster says:

    I am lost for words by so many comments here. I thought the heated debates in Germany would be bad, but this here is nuts.
    1) to pit poor against poorer is not helping! The number 1 argument here in Germany against refugees is: “but what about poor German kids? What about the homeless people? Our government should help them first!” We have a responsibility for those refugees, because most of them have nothing left and have gone through traumatic things.
    2) If this celeb is speaking up to support refugees, why isn’t he/she taking some into his/her posh home! – At what point has he asked anyone to take refugees into their private homes? One german singer actually DID take a Syrian family into her home and guess what people said: “Yeah, that’s easy for her. She has a huge house and it’s a family not just guys and they are living in their own apartment in her house – so they don’t really live together.” So even if that celebrity is helping, it’s wrong.
    3) People want to help but they are scared about the consequences – what? So many people do voluntary work. They help wherever they can and they are not afraid of anything.
    4) They come to take our jobs and places and money – they wan’t a chance in life. They don’t come to take anything away from you. Here in Germany those who are on social welfare cry the loudest. Some of them have never worked a day in their lives but hate on refugees, because they wanna take away their jobs. Seems reasonable…
    5) You wouldn’t believe the outragous claims I read online. People make up stuff up that is beyond stupid. Someone wrote that women in Germany all start to dye their hair brown/dark brown so refugee rape gangs wouldn’t think that they are German and spare them. There are constant claims of women and girls being raped by refugees. Those claims are made up by people just to fuel the hate against refugees. THAT is creating hysteria and not people who say we have to help refugees as good as we can.

    • s says:

      Greenmonster, thank you for your comment. I was getting a little depressed with the commentariat here. It’s reminded me of the All Lives Matter clamor, when in fact some lives are more at risk than others.
      And kinda random, but hats off to those Islanders who opened up their homes for families of refugees when their govt only took in a small number. 10,000 private citizens who pretty much said fuck the politicians.

      • greenmonster says:

        Same here, s. I got depressed as well. Usually CB comments are so outspoken against discrimination that I thought this thread would heartfully agree with Cumberbatch.

      • Franca says:

        I also think that these people need to be helped. I also think they would be treated differently were they not Muslim.
        However, the question is how to help them. People in my country are largely welcoming, maybe because the memory if war and being forced out of your own home is still fresh. The politicians also want to help. The government is building new refugee centres with heating for the winter. Mistakes were made because we didn’t expect so many of them and because the collaboration with other countries hasn’t been that great.
        The problem is, as I said upthread, is that the refugees don’t want to stay, not even for medical help, let alone to be registered which the EU demands. You can’t keep people prisoners, can you? And when each country gets a quota, what will happen? How will the people be kept in Romania when their neighbours got Norway? It is a very complex issue.

    • Sochan says:

      You have a responsibility?? According to WHOM?

      The UAE, which is comprised of over 50 states, and has wealth unimaginable has done close to NOTHING for these poor souls — despite more closely sharing a culture and religion with them than any country in the West does. Most of the Arab/Islamic states have outright REJECTED them. Others simply haven’t offered. Others have given money (??) but refuse to invite them into their lands. Why does the burden fall upon Europe? No one ever seems to back up their claim that “it is our responsibility” before repeating it ad nauseum.

      • greenmonster says:

        According to humanity

      • EN says:

        > The UAE, which is comprised of over 50 states, and has wealth unimaginable has done close to NOTHING for these poor souls — despite more closely sharing a culture and religion

        That is another cop out. So, because Saudi Arabia is not helping, the UK is shouldn’t be helping as well? Is that who we are looking up to know – Saudi Arabia? The most horrid regime in the world, second to none, not even to North Korea.
        Yeah, let’s discuss why North Korea is not helping either. Anything, to take attention away from us.

      • Sochan says:

        Not sure why you singled out SA. There are over 50 states in the UAE.

        Once again, not answering my question. Noted.

      • Mia4s says:

        Yes the wealthy Arab/Islamic countries who have refused to help or accept refugees are indeed awful. Useless and contemptible.

        So we should be awful too? No thanks. I’m happy to take the tougher, morally superior high road. Also if compassion won’t get those countries moving, maybe shame will. They should be ashamed.

        Oh and good call on the swearing Benny. The conversation (and debate) wain too easily. Anything to keep it at the forefront.

      • Ana A. says:

        Actually your question was answered “humanity”. Other countries too have this responsibility, but just because some don’t take it seriously this doesn’t mean that countries can say “if they don’t do anything, we don’t do anything either”. It is about saving lives. If someone is drowning you can’t stand in a group and say “well, I’m not going to jump in if no one else does it.” Sorry, if your conservative thinking can’t accept this answer. Greenmonster and EN said it as simple as possible.

      • Arpeggi says:

        This is such an uneducated statement! The vast majority of refugees are hosted in neighboring countries. Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey and yes, even Irak, are the countries where most of the refugees are, they are millions there. The arab countries are doing their share even if none of the countries I’ve listed are doing great lately (or for the last couple of decades). When someone decides that life in its own city is so bad that he/she’d rather walk thousands of miles, pack itself with dozens of other in containers or shitty inflatable boats and risks its life dozens of time because back home he/she’s pretty certain to die and when your country did nothing for years to make the situation home better or even worsen the situation for profits, the least this country and its inhabitants can do is to give asylum. That’s it. If others aren’t doing their share well screw them! Besides we have signed treaties on refugees rights, they haven’t. So let’s do what we said we would.

      • TotallyBiased says:

        WHAT ARPEGGI SAID! MILLIONS of refugees in Iraq–and how INCREDIBLY bad does your life have to be, before you think life in a refugee camp in IRAQ would be better!!

    • justme says:

      I decided not to post.

  13. Chantal says:

    How many families did he take? Maybe he and his wife can adopt a Syrian child.

    • EN says:

      Chantal, see grenmonster’s point #2 just above.

      • Chantal says:

        I am not against his support for the refugees. It is dreadful little children are forced to leave in this condition.. He should walk the walk., see Angelina Jolie. I think his heart is in the right place. I hope his donating some of his big paycheck to the cause. He certainly can afford it. BC is a backseat activist. I know them very well. They are brave behind the walls of UK and US. See George Clooney and Matt Damon two actors he admired so much. SH does not give me the charitable type vibe.

      • Pondering thoughts says:

        Cumberbatch does at least say publicly what few others have said so far.

        Angelina Jolie never managed to blame politicians who are responsible for any misery. She just blamed the UN.

  14. Cassie says:

    Let all the refugees enter the nations they want to be.
    Let them suck in all the resources.

    Rich and Millionaire people won’t feel the pressure they are the people that can really help.

    The middle class will suffer with higher monetary values and the poor will be pissed because the public service resources and benefits they are receiving will suffer.

  15. Dara says:

    I’m not even sure where to jump into this discussion, so I’ll just add my thoughts here –

    I almost feel sorry for The Otter. His chronic foot-in-mouth tendencies do him no favors in situations like this. I don’t doubt his passion or commitment to this issue, but what he said and how he said didn’t really help his case for me. I didn’t mind the f-bomb, but there were other things that rankled, which I will ignore because I think his heart is in the right place.

    The news coverage in the US of this crisis has been woeful – I can only recall a few days this summer when it was covered at all, let alone was the top story in national news broadcasts. To be fair, I tend to avoid most broadcast news because, you know, Donald Trump – but we still should be hearing more about it than we are.

    I was about to type out a full paragraph (or many) about who is blame, why and what needs to be done, but I realized that’s pointless. So instead I’ll ask this, which is a question I should have asked months ago – which charity should I write my check to? Who is doing the most good, in the worst places, right f*cking now? Which organizations just don’t give a crap about red tape or all the geo-political nonsense and are out there saving lives?

    • InvaderTak says:

      a starting place. I donated to the International Medical corps. A marine friend of mine who is retired now worked as a medic with them. There’s a link to their on the ground reporter’s facebook page on the right side of the page. Interesting reading.

    • Pondering thoughts says:

      Do write some friendly but sharp letters to politicians, too, because the sheer number of refugees and the quantity of help they need can not be covered by private charity alone.

      • Dara says:

        @Pondering – agreed. At best, private charity is a stop-gap simply because they tend to mobilize slightly faster than governments do. It’s shocking to me that the EU and other western countries didn’t foresee this, or maybe they did and grossly underestimated the scale of the thing.

  16. Pondering thoughts says:

    Well, swear words are an expression of utter desparation and anger and annoyed-at-not-being-heard and hopelessness. Otherwise you wouldn’t use them.

    Those swear words did definitively get his speech into the press. I hadn’t heard about it before.

    As for the parents of kids: trust me, if your kids are in kindergarden they know much more swear words than that f*** expletive.

  17. Pondering thoughts says:

    Cumberbatch is right in may ways.

    The refugee crisis can only be managed by governments:
    – they need passports or at least temporary documents
    – they need language courses: anybody speak arabian/syrian/afghani/??? and can teach them German/French/English/…
    – they need large scale medical support
    – …
    – …

    – they will need a lot of help for lots of years to come: most of them are neither sufficiently educated nor speaking any European language sufficiently to take any job. For example: in western countries the rate of university / college graduates is between 40% and 60%. The rate of university / college graduates in Syria is around 5% – 10%.

    They didn’t get any papers and not even “temporary” papers : nobody knows who came into Europe nor does anybody know where they want to go. And governments have the right to control their borders and to issue temporary “passports” and similar stuff. I am all for helping them but I despise the governments attitudes: uncoordinated and unprepared and we-don’t-do-anything way.

    Private charity just won’t be able to come up with so much money and support for years to come in a steady and continuous way. Those refugees who go to Europe – they won’t go back any time soon and probably not ever. Those middle eastern countries which they fled will be savaged by wars and civil wars for years to come. They won’t go back. They will stay and they will need lots of help.

    Can private charity seriously provide language courses for several years and on quality levels for refugees? Nope.
    Can private charity seriously provide medical treatment for so many people: Germany has a population of 80 Mio and more than 1 Mio refugees are expected till the end of THIS year.
    Currently the governments don’t make any plans to teach languages to refugees. It is horrible.
    The governments also don’t make any plans how to pay for all those things the refugees will need.

    Western governments (yes, Germany too) is already pitting poor against refugees. Currently they talk about not paying refugees / asylum seekers the minimum wage. That is wage dumping, plain and simple. Currently the deficits in social housing become obvious because there hasn’t been build enough new social housing not even for German needs in the past two or three decades.

    Many local politicians (district level) are complaining that they simply can’t provide the services they are required to provide to refugees. How do you offer social housing when there simply aren’t enough houses?
    How can you efficiently police refugee camps when there isn’t enough police? You can’t make them work 18 hours a day for weeks, you know. But due to austerity cuts and due to a decade of slander against lazy fat cat bureaucracy lazy government clerks – there isn’t enough police nor enough staff in civil offices to provide the necessary services.
    And don’t let me get started about medical services … or do you think the refugees were all in excellent health because their home countries offered western standard medical services or any at all during all those wars?

    Currently the West is acting completely uncoordinated and unprepared and no clues and no strategy.

    Cumberbatch is very very right to call out politicians. Congrats to him!!!!

    • PegL says:

      First time commenter long time reader of CB.
      Pondering thoughts, I don’t know were you live. I’m Greek and if the situation in your country is as you have described try to imagine what it’s like in my country. For the last 8 months, so little is being done for those people who are fortunate enough to arrive in my country (not drown on the way). Up until a week ago refugees were constantly being transported from point a to point b to poin c and so on. The greek goverment announced a plan to provide 20.000 refugees with temporary housing benefits and health cards for medical support (not sure this is the right term).
      I think the key word is temporary. I believe that my goverment (as well as goverments of other EU countries) is reluctant to acknowledge the severity of the situation because it would mean a substantial cost in votes and/or popularity, since there is an increase in mumber of right wing supporters.
      As others have mentioned throughout this thread, this is serious, this IS HERE and it needs to be dealt with carefully and responsibly for both EU citizens as well as those poor people.
      Also, kudos to the volunteers from all over the world who are in the Greeks islands and work to help these people settle in.

  18. neutral says:

    What are the rich Gulf States doing to help their neighbours?

    • Arpeggi says:

      Should we wait for North Korea to do something about their democratic processes before enhancing our own? The rich Gulf countries aren’t doing anything as they always did. Moreover, if you look at how foreing workers are treated in many of those countries, you’d realize that moving there would only be a new kind of hell for the refugees; many of the workers are treated like slaves, just think of how many died in Qatar while building the stadiums for the next World Cup! Besides those countries don’t practice the same forms of Islam that are/were practiced in Syria or Libya which were fairly secular countries before the civil wars. So no, let’s not use those countries as examples or wait for them to do something before we act. On the other hand, countries that have underwent civil wars and massacres like Lebanon are hosting more refugees than they can handle and no one is looking their way… The reason why we need to receive more refugees is to relief them of this situation

  19. Pondering thoughts says:

    I would like to make a simple minimum estimation about the costs of the refugees arriving in Germany. The point of this estimation is to show how much money will be needed every year. I want to point out that it is not possible for private charity to pay for the refugees and if you take a look at the sums required it becomes obvious.
    1 Mio refugees is estimated to come to Germany this year.
    500€ / per person / per month is a very low estimation. The real costs of living alone are 700€-800€ without health care costs. And things like language courses aren’t included either.

    Simple calculation:

    500€ / per person / per month

    = 6.000€ per person / per year

    =€ / for 1 Mio refugees / per year

    = 6 billion € / for 1 Mio refugees / per year

    The annual German tax revenues are about estimated 666 billion € for 2015.

    Greenpeace Germany is a big charity and they just got about 50 Mio € this year.
    (Doctors without borders) Medecins sans frontieres (Germany) got 111,5 Mio € in 2014.

    Private charity will not be able to support refugees. Not even a substantial part of them.

  20. Kara says:

    I’m not sure where it was said, but I’m sure it was because it’s a favorite topic. “Well he hasn’t taken any refugees into his own house” Isn’t that asking much when he won’t.. hmm… provide certain people closer to home… with room and board. Check and see who is listed as living in his house, or should I say who isn’t.

    • Pondering thoughts says:

      I don’t think you have to invite strangers into your house to prove your charitable credentials or to prove that you put your money where your mouth is.
      This is real life and not the biblical age around year 0.

      Western governments are supposed to provide social housing which is paid for by citizen’s taxes. So paying your taxes and kicking the governments butt about building social housing should be sufficient. And Cumberbatch does do that.

  21. Léonie says:

    This is where, at least, Hiddleston is smart to keep his views private.

    Renowned show-bizzers playing the mass influence card are pityfull systemic pawns. I have only contempt for this kind of manœuvres and I find their agenda ever so coarse. More and more liberal deregulation aka lgbt propaganda, no frontierism and so forth… As in fine honing the will of the happy few mondialists’ hyper class.
    If something has to be amended; it is the Western international politics’ towards Middle East, not our borders.

    80% of those flux are illegal aliens, that did not even respected our refugee protocol to start with, Africans outlaws, not refugees from Syria.
    At this rate, and it is basic demographic and cross-cultural understanding; Europe, the forefathers’ nations of all the western world is to become an Islamic Republic in a few decades. We are indebeted at 100% of our GDP, our unemployement rate is a chronic 10%. This is folly.
    I am extremely worried for my safety as a single woman, as I am for the indentity and the futur of my nation. Muslim culture is not ours and never will be. This nonsense has to stop, and quickly so.

    I doubt Cumberbatch is ever confronted to hordes in Hampstead Heat or in the Hidden Hills.

    • TotallyBiased says:

      Eh, check your history. Most of Europe has already been an Islamic Caliphate. And refugees, by definition, are not usually able to ‘immigrate legally’. I can only think you have bought in to the hyperbole and fear-based rhetoric, and that makes me very sad.

      • neutral says:

        @ Totally biased “Most of Europe has already been an Islamic Caliphate.”

        Where do you get that idea from TB?

      • Pondering thoughts says:

        @ neutral

        Perhaps TotallyBiased reads too many of Rupert Murdochs printed bottom output.

        @ Leonie

        1. Celebrities have the right to free speech and the right to voice their political views and others.

        2. Yep, Cumberbatch got into the news for his speech(es). So what?

        3. Where did you get that number that 80% of refugees weren’t refugees but illegal intruders? Link, please.

        4. This nonsense about the West becoming islamic has to stop, too. For starters, there aren’t enough muslims to make the West become islam-ised. Next: there aren’t enough muslims coming to the West to islam-ise it.
        Next: As long as muslims stick to western law there is no problem. There might be a problem with insufficient numbers in the police and the legal system but that is home-made.
        Next: Germany has been living with about +10% muslims for several decades. It is possible.

        5. The stone-age islam which the IS / ISIS promotes is not welcomed by most muslims. In fact most muslims prefer to live like in western countries with western health care and western equality of men and women. And most of them simply adapt and don’t cause trouble.

        6. The problem is not so much the islam but the type of interpretation which certain islam(ic) groups promote. Christianity has its religious wingnuts, too. And Europe was way more stone-age fundamentalist christian in the past centuries and only education and enlightment and secularisation did ease the grip of christianity.

        If you have a look at the history of libraries and especially the number of books in libraries over the ages then you can see that the christian religions were one major force in reducing books and education. There was a lot more literacy and education and books and libraries in the antique than in the middle ages.
        See this graphic:

        It is not so much the religion itself but it’s stone-age standard interpretation.

      • Arpeggi says:

        @Pondering Thoughts, I think that TB was making an allusion about the Moorish invasions of Spain and parts of France, about the Ottoman Empire and all that stuff… There have been Muslims in Europe in the past, just like Europeans invaded Northern Africa and Middle East a few times too, I don’t think (at least I hope!) that it wasn’t about the current state of Europe. I agree with the rest of your comment, you said everything I’d say in a far more polite manner: Muslims will not invade us, they don’t aim to invade us or colonize our countries, they just not wish to die and hope for better opportunities than the mess that their countries are in at the moment. So they try to leave.

      • TotallyBiased says:

        Arpeggi–thank you for reading for comprehension! Yes, I was referring to history. While we live in this modern age, we can’t entirely ignore the cycles of history, as that has shaped so much of what must be dealt with now.
        As for Murdoch, I am as anti-Rupert as it is possible to be. Note my reply re fear-mongering rhetoric.
        I keep seeing references to ‘hordes of young men’–what we would have called ‘military-aged males’–comprising the largest percentage of refugees. It would be excellent if the posters making this statement would provide documentation to back that up.

    • TotallyBiased says:

      And as for Hiddleston keeping his views to himself–he won’t comment on politics, but he has been VERY outspoken in his support for UNICEF refugee efforts AND lgbt rights.

      • neutral says:

        But not at the end of a performance with a captive audience I’m pleased to say.

      • TotallyBiased says:


      • Kaye says:

        Hardly a “captive” audience. It’s after curtain call and they’ve got legs or space to stare off into. If someone is distressed by hearing a few words on refugees after a play, they’ve got a problem.

        I had no idea Tom was outspoken on LBGT rights, and while I know his heart is in the right place, unfortunately, UNICEF is a questionable charity. That’s more on his people’s vetting process than him personally, however.

      • TotallyBiased says:

        Kaye–also a good point, I’ve been unclear as to exactly when Benedict’s ‘impassioned plea’/’diatribe’ (to cover both polarities) occurred.
        Re Hiddleston and UNICEF, his work has been in support of specific programs–clean water and vaccinations in West Africa and children in Syrian refugee camps. In fact, if one looks at his other publicized efforts (since we can’t possibly know what he does that isn’t publicized) there is a distinct weighting towards child-oriented programs:
        Great Ormond Street Hospital
        Sohana Research Fund
        Small Steps
        to name a few.

  22. SloaneY says:

    No matter your stance on the mass migration, it was highly unprofessional of him to subject his captive, paying audience to his political rants and guilt them into donating money to his cause. He can do whatever he pleases on his own time, but this is not his own time, it is his job. How many other jobs would let you rant about your political positions and ask for donations after you make a presentation, deliver their mail or operate on them?
    I had a friend who went and said it was very uncomfortable. I would have been pissed off.

    • Dara says:

      This is exactly why the guy needs to bite the bullet and join Social Media – he doesn’t need to run any of the accounts his own self (in fact, I recommend that he doesn’t), or share personal intimate details about his life – but he obviously has things he wants to say and Facebook or Twitter are exactly the right format to spread the word about causes he cares about.

    • Kelly says:

      Then your friend needs to get over whatever his or her issues are. I’ve been plenty of places where donations for various causes were set up and/or requested, including stores and offices. Hell, cashiers at markets ask you when you’re paying, and our post office asks for dry food donations in December.

      FYI the poor handling of this crisis by the UK and some other countries isn’t a “political position,” it’s just reality. Whatever your stance on mass migration is, it doesn’t negate the bad response or that private charities are bearing the brunt of aid right now.

      • SloaneY says:

        Does your post office rant at you for 10 minutes before they give you your mail? I’m absolutely certain that you would have issues with someone preaching at you for donations for something that you didn’t agree with, but because this is something you (seem to) support, you have no issues with it.
        I don’t care where you are politically on any issue, it is unprofessional to preach to a captive audience and expect them to donate money to your pet cause. Were the other members of the cast allowed to do the same for charities of their choice? No, I’m sure that would have been seen as unprofessional.

      • Kelly says:

        No, they just talk to you about it and leave mailers everywhere. It takes at least 10 mins of my time overall each year they do it, but I’m still intact.

        Please stop calling them captives. It’s a speech after curtain call–not really a rant, fyi–you can just leave. The donations are specifically for the aid to children; I’d love to know who doesn’t agree with that.

        All in all, it’s fine if you don’t care about these people, but stop getting mad because other people do. That’s what it comes down to. There’s zero reason to get upset about a short charity speech after a play.

  23. Rosy says:

    I have been reading celebitchy for a while but have never commented before. However, the passion with which some people here are arguing against any meaningful support for refugees is disgusting. A celebrity, who has helped raise £150,000 to aid in this worldwide CRISIS, used one swear word in his passionate plea for the pathetic UK government (who play a big part in the situation) to do more, and people here are writing long paragraphs to complain. WTF is up with your priorities in life?

    Are some of you so blinded by your hatred for this guy that you cant see beyond your obsession to see the bigger picture of what he is trying to achieve. So he doesnt have the answer, but he is imploring the politicians who should have the answer to take responsibility, and additonally he is raising money and attending charity events to help – why in the world anyone would ever think this is something to bitch about is beyond me. Truly sickening.

    • EN says:

      Well said, Rose.

    • Anne says:

      Do try to understand the emotion and experiences that cause people to hold the views they do before calling those views “sickening.” The people who have voiced concerns about the consequences of the current influx into Europe have made important points. This situation is not black and white. The suffering of refugees is important. It is not heartlessness that causes people to voice concern.

  24. Joanie says:

    I was at one of the Hamlet performances in September, and he was completely sincere. He’s not grandstanding. You can tell, in person, that the refugee crisis genuinely upsets him.

    • hermia says:

      You are right, but what of it? He feels for every cause, because he’s a decent human being, but he’s not going to solve it by dissing politicians. And there’s a time and place for everything: most people don’t want to be lectured when at the theatre. But that’s just who he is, he’s not faking it.

  25. Goodnight says:

    So exhausting, this man.

    • YupYepYam says:

      Yeah. But at least not boring. 200+ comments for a topic thats important. Really important, not ‘tehee-i-see-bare-butts!’ Important.

  26. EM says:

    It’s so easy for people like him – the privileged, born into wealth – to say such things. When things turn to crap, they’re never affected, they have their financial safety net. As for the rest? What of them? They endure the politicians because they have no other choice.

  27. A.Key says:

    I agree with him, but most people won’t because most people only care about themselves and they don’t give a rat’s ass about others from far-away countries who want your help but cannot give you anything in return for it.
    In this capitalist society it’s mostly every man for him/herself.
    The EU takes in how many hundreds of millions of tourists every freakin year? Yeah we got room for people who can PAY us, no problem, we got room for them, stay as long as you want. But we have no room for people who are poor and who offer us no profit.

    • Lindy79 says:

      While I agree with you that much, much more needs to be done, comparing tourists to refugees is simply a bad example. Tourists visit countries by choice, they’re not fleeing war, poverty or persecution. They bring money into countries and they don’t rely on Government funding and support, they spend their own….unless I’ve been doing it wrong all these years.

      You can’t simply bring people into countries with no plan, they have to have some sort of papers, safe secure places to stay, means to get access to food, water and security and if applicable a way to integrate them into society and the education system. This all requires planning, funding and Government support, which I agree it doesn’t seem like there are plans being worked on, which I suppose is the point Ben etc are trying to make.

      I do 100% agree that not nearly enough is being done but it seems that pointing out the above and other concerns makes you open to attacks of not caring/being selfish which is simply not true.

      • A.Key says:

        You’re right, and I agree with you, but I’ve just simplified it all to:

        1) if you have money, you are welcome – money pays for shelter, food, education, you basically, you got money, you can do what you please and stay anywhere you like, rich people are always welcomed with open arms all across the world.

        2) if you don’t have money, please don’t come because we do not want to fund your existence.

        IMO, that’s what it all boils down to. But that’s the essence of capitalism.

  28. TotallyBiased says:

    And this is another way to bring attention to issues: But Tom and Bendy would both get a lot of criticism for this, too. Just how it goes.

    • Lilacflowers says:

      It is nicely written. It doesn’t give solutions but serves instead as an introduction, a call to learn more, and a call to do more in measured tones, without resorting to swearing or holding an audience captive. If someone does not want to read it, just turn the page. UNICEF held onto this for months so it is likely part of a larger plan to raise awareness, funds, and outreach to policy makers in government

      • Lise says:

        He’s already being pegged “white savior” for it, Tom is. In reality, it’s probably half-drafted by his and UNICEF’s PR (that’s not a dig, that’s how print statements attributed directly work) and written well.

        I don’t think anyone was really held captive or died because Cumberbatch used a swear. Everyone overblew that. It’s an urgent situation that’s just getting worse with many people being callous about it, so whatever, swear away as far as I’m concerned.

      • TotallyBiased says:

        Actually, Lise, although “white savior” accolades/mudslinging either way are hardly due to either gentleman (IMO), it is entirely likely Hiddleston wrote the piece. It certainly fits his writing style, of which we have numerous examples going back to his All That You Can’t Leave Behind diary entry for the LSW Prison Project (2001). He wrote up his previous UNICEF UK trip as well–look for Tom Hiddleston’s Guinea Field Diary on the UNICEF UK site. That double first at Cambridge has to be good for something.

        We’re certainly dialoguing about the complex issues, and that is probably the most important thing.

      • TotallyBiased says:

        I do wonder at the reference “captive audience”–is it because UK audiences won’t walk away after the curtain call if the star is still on stage? A manners thing? I mean the question sincerely, as I’ve seen audience members in parts of the US and some other countries leaving the venue even as a standing ovation is in progress.
        Doing it at the beginning of the show, or end of intermission (if the production had a mid-show break) seems like it would have been more along the lines of a disruption or taking advantage of the captive audience, but I’m still not real clear on UK etiquette. And doesn’t seem like we’re hearing that much one way or another from folks who were actually at the show. For example, I didn’t realize he’s been making the plea for donations after every show–and it’s only because he used a four letter word that suddenly it has become a ‘thing’ and Daily Fail newsworthy.

      • Lilacflowers says:

        @Lise Based on my knowledge of how such things usually work, and I am quite familiar with how non-profit PR works, Tom likely wrote it and went over several drafts with UNICEF editors and UNICEF would have been the distributor. And I never said otherwise. He did go there. He spoke with those children. He saw those things. As for the whole “white saviour” bit, are white people supposed to sit back and do absolutely nothing?

        And clearly, you have no understanding of how I used “captive audience.” Nowhere did I say or insinuate that Lord Smarmy Otter’s use of a swear held anyone captive or killed anyone. Night after night, he had an audience of several thousand people in front of him who couldn’t just whisk themselves out of the theater at the snap of a finger the minute he started his speech, which he was doing for weeks, not just one night. It takes time to leave a crowded theater. Whether they wanted to hear it or not, they had little choice. They were captives. I’ve been to dozens of plays at which actors have raised money for various charities at the end of the performance and I saw BC’s speech at the NTLive broadcast. Others have done it with far less histrionics, without drawing such attention to themselves, and that’s before he started hurling swear words at politicians.

        By the way, raising money for something, which he was doing at the end of performances for weeks, and calling for government policy changes are two very separate and distinct paths, which he blurred with that swearing bit.

        As TB has pointed out, there are different ways to bring attention to important matters. These are two examples. BC’s speeches to captive audiences raised money from that audience but are unlikely to have an impact on those policies he swore about and swearing at the people you want to make those changes rarely works.

      • Lise says:

        I’m not calling Tom a white savior, Lilacflowers. TotallyBiased mentioned he’s probably going to get flack, and I noted he is, not that I agree.

        People could have walked or zoned out is my point. Some people were, as it’s after they’ve already bowed.

        While you’re right it won’t have an impact on policies, as a few commenters have already mentioned, it helps keeps the topic and the charity in the news. He’s not getting universal praise or positive press for this at all as the UK is very split on the issue, but he’s sticking to his position anyway, which I respect.