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    Benedict Cumberbatch Has Apologised For Calling Black Actors "Coloured"

    He inadvertently caused offence while discussing racial inequality in entertainment for non-white actors.

    Benedict Cumberbatch has called himself an "idiot" and apologised for describing black actors as "coloured" during a televised debate about the lack of diversity on British TV screens.

    Suzanne Plunkett / Reuters

    Ironically, the Sherlock star was actually discussing the lack of opportunities for non-white actors and campaigning for that to change when he used the term.

    Cumberbatch was on The Tavis Smiley Show on PBS when he said:

    I think as far as coloured actors go, it gets really different in the UK, and a lot of my friends have had more opportunities here [in America] than in the UK, 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 a pace.

    And while his aim was noted, many people quickly picked up on his terminology.

    Oh noooooo did Benedict Cumberbatch really refer to anyone as coloured people? Oh noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

    Selina Thompson@SelinaNThompsonFollow

    Oh noooooo did Benedict Cumberbatch really refer to anyone as coloured people? Oh noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

    5:13 PM - 25 Jan 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

    Benedict Cumberbatch on lack of opps for black actors in UK. For me tho, undermined by him calling them "coloured"... http://t.co/zqkS4kAISz

    Charlene White@CharleneWhiteFollow

    Benedict Cumberbatch on lack of opps for black actors in UK. For me tho, undermined by him calling them "coloured"... http://t.co/zqkS4kAISz

    9:21 PM - 25 Jan 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

    While I'm on board with Cumberbatch's points here, it really doesn't help when he uses a term like "coloured" - http://t.co/CZoKD8sHFx

    Shane Thomas@tokenbgFollow

    While I'm on board with Cumberbatch's points here, it really doesn't help when he uses a term like "coloured" - http://t.co/CZoKD8sHFx

    4:05 PM - 25 Jan 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

    Benedict #Cumberbatch - great sentiment but we don’t use the word #coloured anymore

    Daniella Moore@thechick123Follow

    Benedict #Cumberbatch - great sentiment but we don’t use the word #coloured anymore

    7:49 PM - 25 Jan 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

    I know we are not supposed to say 'coloured' (fads/pc wot ever) but Benedict Cumberbatch was highlighting inequality. Semantics

    Pi-meson Barbie@wendypryerFollow

    I know we are not supposed to say 'coloured' (fads/pc wot ever) but Benedict Cumberbatch was highlighting inequality.

    Semantics

    11:02 PM - 25 Jan 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

    British anti-racism charity Show Racism the Red Card praised Cumberbatch for raising awareness about diversity issues but told The Independent his wording was inappropriate.

    Benedict Cumberbatch has highlighted a very important issue within the entertainment industry and within society. ... In doing so, he has also inadvertently highlighted the issue of appropriate terminology and the evolution of language. Show Racism the Red Card feel that the term "coloured" is now outdated and has the potential to cause offence due to the connotations associated with the term and its historical usage.

    Fred Thornhill / Reuters

    Cumberbatch has since released a statement to MailOnline apologising and insisting he has learnt from the mistake.

    I'm devastated to have caused offence by using this outmoded terminology. 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 UK and the need for rapid improvements in our industry when I used the term.

    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. I apologise again to anyone who I offended for this thoughtless use of inappropriate language about an issue which affects friends of mine and which I care about deeply.

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