Benedict Cumberbatch came under fire this week after accidentally referring to black actors as “coloured” during a radio interview. The actor has since apologised for this gaffe.
However Selma actor David Oyelowo has spoken out about this apology and called the negative reaction Cumberbacth received, “ridiculous”.
“When you look at what he was actually saying it’s clear that he’s a huge supporter of black performers,” Oyelowo told BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat. “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.”
“I reached out to him in support and said I think it’s ridiculous,” he continued.
“You can see that in the fact every time a film of this size and stature [Selma] comes up,” he adds when asked about if there was a problem with diversity in Hollywood. “We’re talking about diversity again and that’s because there isn’t enough of it. Excellence is the best weapon against prejudice. I intend to be part of the solution and not the problem. You’ve just got to keep on banging out good performances.”
“[Cumberbatch is] a brilliant actor, he gives a brilliant performance in The Imitation Game and, like I say, it’s just a diversion from what we should be talking about, which is that astounding performance.”
“In America we use the term ‘people of colour’,” he concludes. “Is that a million miles different than saying coloured? I know it’s an outdated term but… he was clearly doing something that I think was pretty beautiful.”