Turing was convicted of gross indecency and sentenced to chemical castration in 1952, for the simple fact that he was gay. Homosexuality was only decriminalised in 1967, but which point Turing had already died of cyanide poisoning. In 2013, the Queen issued a pardon for his "crime", finally wiping clean his record.
Cumberbatch played the mastermind behind the World War 2 Enigma story in film The Imitation Game, and says this is not good enough. "Alan Turing was not only prosecuted, but quite arguably persuaded to end his own life early, by a society who called him a criminal for simply seeking out the love he deserved, as all human beings do," Cumberbatch wrote to the Hollywood Reporter.
"Sixty years later, that same government claimed to ‘forgive’ him by pardoning him. I find this deplorable, because Turing’s actions did not warrant forgiveness — theirs did — and the 49,000 other prosecuted men deserve the same."
This comes after Stephen Fry, who recently married his partner Elliott Spencer, backed the campaign top pardon the men, and announced his own campaign to get Turing put on the £10 note.
Stephen Fry's Finest Quotes
Stephen Fry's Finest Quotes
1/19 On Being Bipolar
"There’s a moment in the film where I recognised that this was the last moment we filmed before this wave of depression came over me, and I was idiotic or victim enough, or whatever one wants to call it, of this mad compulsion."
2/19 On Taking Cocaine At Buckingham Palace
"I take this opportunity to apologise unreservedly, to the owners, managers or representatives of the noble and ignoble premises and to the hundreds of private homes, offices, car dashboards, tables, mantelpieces and available polished surfaces that could so easily have been added to this list of shame."
3/19 On His Age
"I don't need you to remind me of my age. I have a bladder to do that for me."
4/19 On Swearing
"It would be impossible to imagine going through life without swearing and without enjoying swearing."
5/19 On TV
"I don't watch television. It destroys the art of talking about oneself."
6/19 On Happiness
"Having a great intellect is no path to being happy."
7/19 On Technology
"One technology doesn't replace another, it complements. Books are no more threatened by Kindle than stairs by elevators."
8/19 On Being On Stage
"You are who you are when nobody's watching."
9/19 On Education
"Education is the sum of what students teach each other between lectures and seminars."
10/19 On Creativity
"An original idea. That can't be too hard. The library must be full of them."
11/19 On Journalism
"Many people would no more think of entering journalism than the sewage business - which at least does us all some good."
12/19 On Love
"Love in all eight tones and all five semitones of the word's full octave."
13/19 On The English Accent
"A cut glass English accent can fool unsuspecting Americans into detecting a brilliance that isn't there."
14/19 On Being An Author
"I get an urge, like a pregnant elephant, to go away and give birth to a book."
15/19 On Homosexuality
"I’ve never wanted one extra gay person in the world, there are plenty of us around."
Susannah Ireland / The Independent
16/19 On Christmas
"Christmas to a child is the first terrible proof that to travel hopefully is better to arrive."
17/19 On Clichés
"It is a cliché that most clichés are true, but then like most clichés, that cliché is untrue. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will always hurt me."
18/19 On Smoking
"I think I have always linked smoking and sex. Maybe this is where I have been going wrong all my life."
19/19 On Homophobia
"Homosexuals are not interested in making other people homosexuals. Homophobes are interested in making other people homophobic."
In a moving speech, Fry said that pardoning Turing must only be the start of honouring the man dubbed the "father of computing".
"Should Alan Turing have been pardoned just because he was a genius when somewhere between 50 to 70 thousand other men were imprisoned, chemically castrated, had their lives ruined or indeed committed suicide because of the laws under which Turing suffered?" Fry said.
He continued: "There is a feeling that perhaps if he should be pardoned, then perhaps so should all of those men, whose names were ruined in their lifetime, but who still have families."
Fry added: "It was a nasty, malicious and horrific law and one that allowed so much blackmail and so much misery and so much distress, and Turing stands as a figure symbolic to his own age in the way that Oscar Wilde was."
Fry said the campaign for the £10 note will gather pace in May, after the General Election.
A new petition has been mounted to formally pardon all 49,000 men who were persecuted under British law for being gay.Reuse content