Benedict Cumberbatch Apologizes: 'Thoughtless' to Call Black Actors 'Colored'

By Melanie Arter | January 26, 2015 | 4:18pm EST

Actor Benedict Cumberbatch (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, file)

(CNSNews.com) - Actor Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays Sherlock Holmes on the PBS show "Sherlock," apologized Monday for using the term "colored" to describe black actors in a discussion about diversity in the entertainment industry on the PBS talk show "Tavis Smiley" last week.

When asked about what makes British actors so appealing to the American audience to the point that even black British actors are "taking jobs," Cumberbatch said, "I think as far as colored actors go, it gets really difficult in the U.K., and I think a lot of my friends have had more opportunities here than in the U.K., and that's something that needs to change."



"It ain't even just white Brits - it's black Brits who are taking jobs now. You look at the 'Selma' script. You look at '12 Years a Slave.' I mean, I love all these actors. They're wonderful, but you guys are coming over here and just taking over man!" Smiley said on Wednesday's show.

"It's an even playing field," Cumberbatch said, and British actors send in their "tapes under the same conditions."

They pay their dues and their taxes, he said, and "it's fair game" if "Meryl Streep can come over and play Margaret Thatcher."

In a statement issued Monday, Cumberbatch apologized for his "thoughtless use of inappropriate language."

"I'm devastated to have caused offence 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," he added.

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