In a recent interview on the Tavis Smiley talk show, the Imitation Game star discussed diversity in films in the United States and the United Kingdom, saying, "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."
According to People, the actor was responding to a question Tavis asked him about the success black British actors Chiwetel Ejiofor and David Oyelowo had achieved with 12 Years a Slave and Selma, respectively. "Something's gone wrong," he continued. "We're not representative enough in our culture of different races, and that really does need to step up apace."
"I don't want to get into any debates about that, but it's clear when you see certain migratory patterns that there are more opportunities here than in the U.K."
Benedict did stir up a debate though, when people caught wind of his use of the word "colored" and weren't amused.
"I'm devastated to have caused offense by using this outmoded terminology," Benedict said in a statement to People, following the buzz. "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," he continued. "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."