Benedict Cumberbatch, our British lord and savior, is experiencing his first scandal. Cumberbitches witnessed their hero’s mortality for the very first time when he used the word “colored” during an interview on PBS show Tavis Smiley to describe black actors. Ironically, it was while he was making a pretty salient point about role diversity in the US versus the UK, but who cares about that, right?
Cumberbatch said the following:
“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 the US] than in the UK, and that’s something that needs to change”
Naturally, the internet is up in arms (Cumberbatch, we assholes on this side of the pond have been quietly biding our time, waiting for you to slip up). The backlash has even resulted in an apology statement from the Oscar-nominated star:
“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.”
As a white Jewish girl, it is, of course, impossible for me to relate to the offense Cumberbatch has caused by using this extremely outdated term. Still, he seems like an affable enough fellow who has made an honest mistake (once again, he was speaking to the importance of race diversity in complex, leading man roles – specifically how the UK can look to the US as a model). While this is an excellent opportunity to publically retire the term, must we absolutely skewer Mr. Cumberbatch in the process?
Ironically, an old white dude by the name of Billy Bob Thornton put it best in his Golden Globes acceptance speech: “These days, you get in a lot of trouble no matter what you say. You can say anything in the world and get in trouble – I know this for a fact. So I’m just gonna say thank you” (drops mic, walks offstage).
And don’t fret Cumberbatch, Eddie Redmayne was a shoo-in for the Oscar anyway.