Oscar-nominated star Benedict Cumberbatch has apologized for referring to Black actors as "colored" on The Tavis Smiley Show.
The 12 Years a Slave actor said he was an "idiot" and "devastated" at his choice of words during an interview with Tavis Smiley about the lack of diversity in the British film industry.
Said Cumberbatch: "I think as far as colored actors go, it gets really difficult in the U.K., and I think 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."
His comments were criticized by some observers on Twitter as being insensitive and out of touch. Smiley defended the actor on Monday, tweeting: "Those who saw Benedict Cumberbatch on @PBS, know he feels persons of color are underrepresented in #Hollywood."
Cumberbatch issued the following statement to People magazine on Monday: "I'm devastated to have caused offense 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 U.K. 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 apologize 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."
Click here for a chance to win $1500 in our Real Husbands of Hollywood Fan FIT sweepstakes presented by the 2015 Honda FIT!
Click here to win a trip to the Super Bowl Gospel Celebration in Phoenix, AZ, plus 4 tickets to the Big Game.
(Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)