Benedict Cumberbatch Apologizes for Calling Black Actors "Colored"

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Benedict Cumberbatch

While appearing on PBS' 'Tavis Smiley,' the Oscar nominee talked about the lack of diversity in the British entertainment industry.

In a recently issued apology, Benedict Cumberbatch called himself an "idiot" and a "fool" after referring to black actors as "colored."

The actor, who earned an Oscar nom for his role in The Imitation Game, recently appeared on PBS' Tavis Smiley, where he talked about diversity in the British versus American entertainment industry.

"As far as colored actors go, it gets really difficult in the U.K.," he said. Cumberbatch was speaking on how black English actors, including Idris Elba, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Selma's David Oyelowo, have found greater career success in America than in their native country.

The U.K.-based charity Show Racism the Red Card stated that it appreciated the sentiment intended by Cumberbatch, but questioned the delivery, calling the actor's specific word choice "outdated" and potentially offensive.

The British actor issued a public apology Monday, where he wrote: "I'm devastated to have caused offense by using this outmoded terminology. 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 went on to say: "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."

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