Benedict Cumberbatch has apologized for use of the outdated term “colored” when referring to black actors.

Benedict Cumberbatch Apologizes

Cumberbatch appeared on the Tavis Smiley show on PBS promoting his Oscar-nominated turn in The Imitation Game when he weighed in on the diversity problems in the UK film industry. “I think as far as colored actors go, it gets really different in the UK, and a lot of my friends have had more opportunities here [in America] than in the UK, and that’s something that needs to change,” Cumberbatch said on the show.

Though the sentiment of Cumberbatch’s comment was well-received, his use of “colored,” a term that’s long been out of use, was considerably less so.

One anti-racism charity, Show Racism the Red Card, admitted that by using the word “colored,” Cumberbatch may have caused offense, but that the overall point he was trying to make was a worthy one.

“Benedict Cumberbatch has highlighted a very important issue within the entertainment industry and within society. In doing so, he has also inadvertently highlighted the issue of appropriate terminology and the evolution of language,” the charity told the Independent. “It has the potential to cause offence due to the connotations associated with the term and its historical usage.”

In response to the mild backlash, Cumberbatch offered an unequivocal apology:

I’m devastated to have caused offense by using this outmoded terminology. I offer my sincere apologies,” said the British actor. “I make no excuse for my being an idiot and know the damage is done.”

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