Benedict Cumberbatch has apologised after talking about “coloured actors” on US television, saying he had been “an idiot” and was “devastated to have caused offence”.
The Sherlock star was criticised after using the phrase when he joined the debate on the lack of diversity on British screens.
Speaking to US talk show host Tavis Smiley last week, he said: “I think as far as coloured actors go it gets really difficult 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.”
While his overall message was applauded by the anti-racism charities, the use of the term “coloured” to refer to people from ethnic minorities was quickly singled out.
The writer Bonnie Greer said: “If he was 80, no one would have noticed. Under 60 – who says “coloured” anymore? It indicates a mindset; a certain circle.”
In a statement released last night, the 38-year-old said: “I feel the complete fool I am and while I am sorry to have offended people and to learn from my mistakes in such a public manner please be assured I have.”
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