The Oscar-nominated actor let the politically incorrect term slip while discussing the problems facing young actors in Britain during an interview with Tavis Smiley on PBS.
"I think as far as colored actors go, it gets really different in the U.K., and a lot of my friends have had more opportunities here [in the U.S.] than in the U.K., and that's something that needs to change.
"Something's gone wrong," Cumberbatch continued. "We're not representative enough in our culture of different races and that really does need to step up a pace."
It's so unfortunate that Cumberbatch used the term when he did, since it overshadowed the entire message of what he was saying. And what he was trying to get across was really important and reflective of the positive change we need in Hollywood.
Cumberbatch recognized the slip and immediately released a statement, "I'm devastated to have caused offense by using this outmoded terminology. I offer my sincere apologies. I make no excuse for my being an idiot and know the damage is done.
"I can only hope this incident will highlight the need for correct usage of terminology that is accurate and inoffensive," Cumberbatch also said. "The most shaming aspect of this for me is that I was talking about racial inequality in the performing arts in the UK and the need for rapid improvements in our industry when I used the term.
"I feel the complete fool I am and while I am sorry to have offended people and to learn from my mistakes in such a public manner please be assured I have.
"I apologize again to anyone who I offended for this thoughtless use of inappropriate language about an issue which affects friends of mine and which I care about deeply."
A lot of fans have come out in support of Cumberbatch, especially those suggesting that the term "colored" is actually a common term in England even though it's steeped in controversy and racist backdrops here in the U.S.
Benedict Cumberbatch isn't racist, coloured is still a really common term in England, PC drives me mad— Jim (@HowSoonIsJim) January 26, 2015
All in all, given Cumberbatch's heartfelt apology and his positive, overall message in support of roles for minority actors, I think we can and should let this one slide. The guy clearly just made a mistake.
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