Benedict Cumberbatch apologized on Monday for using the phrase "colored actors" on the Tavis Smiley PBS show, and said he was "devastated to have caused offense."
He landed in hot water when asked about diversity in roles and said, "I think as far as colored actors go it gets really different in the U.K., and a lot of my friends have had more opportunities here [in the U.S.] than in the U.K., and that's something that needs to change. Something's gone wrong. We're not representative enough in our culture of different races, and that really does need to step up apace."
One anti-racism charity, Show Racism The Red Card, commended Cumberbatch for shedding light on the inequality of acting parts, but told The Independent, "[He] also inadvertently highlighted the issue of appropriate terminology and the evolution of language.”
After fans and critics called him out for using the term "colored," he issued an apology via People. "I'm devastated to have caused offense by using this outmoded terminology," he said in a statement. "I offer my sincere apologies. 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. 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." He added that he felt like a "complete fool."