Just days after Benedict Cumberbatch apologized profusely having being called “outdated” for referring to black actors as “colored,” David Oyelowo has waded into the debate.
Cumberbatch said he was “devastated to have caused offence” after using the word on PBS’ Tavis Smiley talk show while talking about diversity differences in the British and U.S. entertainment industries. But Oyelowo, speaking at the U.K. premiere of Selma, said he thought the incident was “ridiculous.”
“To attack him for a term, as opposed to what he was actually saying, I think is very disingenuous and is indicative of the age we live in where people are looking for sound bites as opposed to substance,” he told the BBC, adding that he’d reached out to Cumberbatch over the controversy and that he didn’t think it would affect his career.
But the actor, who missed out on both Oscar and BAFTA nominations for his portrayal of Martin Luther King, did acknowledge that Hollywood had an issue with diversity.
“You can see that in the fact every time a film of this size and stature comes up,” he said. “We’re talking about diversity again and that’s because there isn’t enough of it.”
Speaking of his recent performance in Interstellar in a role that wasn’t specified as for a black actor, Oyelowo said that “to get to the point whereby myself and Ryan Gosling are going up for the same role is going to be great. That’s not to say that that doesn’t happen, it just doesn’t happen often.”
Oyelowo concluded that he wanted to be “part of the solution.” ?
“You’ve just got to keep on banging out good performances,” he said.