Benedict Cumberbatch apologizes for ‘colored actors’ remark in U.S. interview

Updated 7:54 AM EST, Wed January 28, 2015

Story highlights

Benedict Cumberbatch apologizes for calling black actors "colored" on U.S. TV

British actor offers his "sincere apologies" after appearance on Tavis Smiley show

Star's comment came during conversation about lack of diversity in UK show business

(CNN) —  

Oscar-nominated star Benedict Cumberbatch has apologized for referring to black actors as “colored” on a U.S. talk show.

The “12 Years a Slave” actor said he was an “idiot” and “devastated” at his choice of words during an interview with PBS’ Tavis Smiley about the lack of diversity in the British film industry.

Cumberbatch, 38, told Smiley: “I think as far as colored actors go, it gets really difficult in the UK, and I think a lot of my friends have had more opportunities here [in the U.S.] than in the UK, and that’s something that needs to change.”

His comments were criticized by some observers on Twitter as being insensitive and out of touch. One user called Sonya Thomas asked: “Benedict Cumberbatch used the term ‘coloured’ to describe black actors. What year are we in?”

But Smiley, who is black, defended the “Sherlock” star on Monday, tweeting: “Those who saw Benedict Cumberbatch on @PBS, know he feels persons of color are underrepresented in #Hollywood.”