One of our favourite British actors, Benedict Cumberbatch, has landed himself in hot water over using the term ‘coloured’ in a discussion about race during an interview. The Imitation Game actor happened to use the word while musing over his friends’ difficulty with securing work in the UK, and how we still need to fight for equality, so on and so forth. Unfortunate context in which to cause offense because of course, he meant well.
What he said specifically was this:
“I think as far as coloured actors go, it gets really difficult in the U.K., and a lot of my friends have had more opportunities (in the U.S.) than in the U.K. and that’s something that needs to change.”
Needless to say, Cumberbatch was swiftly called out by Show Racism the Red Card, a British organization, who deemed the term ‘outdated’ and politically incorrect. The actor promptly issued the following apology and quite frankly, we don’t think we’ve ever read an apology as sincere.
“I’m devastated to have caused offense by using this outmoded terminology. I offer my sincere apologies. I make no excuse for my being an idiot and know the damage is done. I can only hope this incident will highlight the need for correct usage of terminology that is accurate and inoffensive.The most shaming aspect of this for me is that I was talking about racial inequality in the performing arts in the U.K. and the need for rapid improvements in our industry when I used the term. I feel the complete fool I am and while I am sorry to have offended people and to learn from my mistakes in such a public manner please be assured I have. I apologise again to anyone who I offended for this thoughtless use of inappropriate language about an issue which affects friends of mine and which I care about deeply.”
There’s not much more someone can do than accept responsibility and profusely apologise, is there?