Benedict Cumberbatch worries he’s perceived as ‘white, male, upper-class’


Benedict Cumberbatch covered the November issue of British GQ. At first, they just released some highlights, which I covered last month. Now British GQ has finally put the entire interview online and I really, really enjoyed it. It includes some Classic Cumberbatch, bumbling around as he tries to talk about his wife and child while sounding like a human being (as opposed to sounding like an Alien Otter with Humanoid Skin). At one point in the interview, Sophie Hunter calls him and bitches him out for talking about politics and personal stuff. Is she his mother or something? So weird. You can read the full piece here. Some highlights:

Milestone birthdays (he just turned 40 this year): He ignored his 30th birthday entirely – “You know, for some reason, clinging on to the idea that I didn’t want to be 30″ – and used to obsess about having kids by 32 (that was when, he had decided, he would be a “full adult”). Now, not so much. “I think I would have been bothered if it hadn’t been for the more important things of my life. You know, the clock ticking over into another decade, maybe I’d be going, ‘Oh, I’m missing something in my life. I should have done that by now.’ But I feel so complete. I feel so lucky.”

Making the move: He’s finally laying plans to move into the family house he’s bought, on a tree-lined road a few doors down from Ed Miliband in Dartmouth Park (“As a neighbour, I’ll say hello”), and which is currently being refurbished (“We just haven’t had the time”).

Long-term career plans: “I want to get to the stage where I do a couple of big projects, then I’m taking a break, then maybe three or one, then another break. You know, other people are involved [now]. Sophie is working. And there’s the kid’s education.”

Being 40: “The only thing about age that hits home is that you are very aware of your own mortality. It’s not about your life or ageing or anything like that, it’s actually about wanting to live long enough to be able to protect that child”

Christopher/Kit gets a tan:
“With the baba, I smother him in factor 1,000, and he still gets a tan”

He would get up at 4 am to work out, not help with the baby: “That actually got me through being a first-time father. I say that as if I was always the one getting up. Sophie really was incredible during those first few months”

The long hours: “Getting home to see your family becomes the main thing – I’ll do the overtime, but can I make bath time?”

His “f—k the politicians” speech: “Of course I was going to be accused of being a hypocrite, but at the time I just thought, ‘We’re going to raise some money for Save The Children.’” Why a hypocrite? “Because, culturally, you’re perceived as being white, male, upper-class, privileged…” Isn’t that reason to help? “Well, that’s what I’ve always thought! Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Exactly. I think the logic is I have to give away all my… I think if I was walking around in hessian pants, as scary as that would be, and I possessed no material…”

The Brexit politicians: “I mean, even the ones you don’t agree with, they’re smart as hell, Farage is an amazing politician, regardless of what he says. Look at the success he’s had. It terrifies me.”

The call from Sophie: He takes a call on his mobile from Sophie – announcing this in one of the many pitch-perfect impressions that he peppers our conversation with, in this case it’s Borat and, “It’s my wife!” – and when he hangs up it’s like he’s been told off. “Oh my God, I’ve talked about politics and family, the two things that were completely off the table!” He almost mutters to himself: “Completely off the table…It’s just a weird balance between just wanting to f***ing be yourself and thinking, ‘To hell with it, this is who I am, this is what I think.’ And another part of you going, there has to be a certain amount that you hold back on.”

He’s constantly recognized: “But I can’t go through my daily life in public without being recognised at some point. Or at every point, sometimes.” And yet, he’ll make sure he still takes his son to the swings and slides, because what else can one do? “Build your own playground? And I don’t ever want to do that, it’s a way to have a screwed-up kid, without a shadow of a doubt.”

[From British GQ]

Part of me thinks it’s so wrong that Sophie calls him to bitch him out about talking too much in interviews. Another part of me thinks that he probably needs someone like that in his life, someone to tell him when he’s being too much, when he’s being neurotic, when he’s talking excessively. Also: I genuinely feel a wave of sympathy for Sophie these days. If he’s not talking about her like she’s his most loyal dog, he’s basically saying that she would get up with the baby and he would head off to the gym at 4 am. So hands-on. No wonder she doesn’t want him talking about their family life.


Photos courtesy of British GQ.

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115 Responses to “Benedict Cumberbatch worries he’s perceived as ‘white, male, upper-class’”

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  1. Digital Unicorn (aKa Betti) says:

    A bit late to worry about that now. U built ur career on it. And yes u r white, male and upper class or have I missed something.

    • frisbee says:

      And here’s me shouting BUT HE IS – all of the above. He’s had all of the advantages of being exactly what he is and now he doesn’t want the ‘perception’ any more. God he really needs to grow up.

      • Carol says:

        Not what he’s saying though, I mean, nowhere does he say he’s worried about that perception, just that he should be helping because he is one. LBR that whole thing was to discredit the cause.

        The rich say something, they’re privileged tossers. The poor say something, they’re lazy and jealous. The end result is no one saying anything.

      • frisbee says:

        Well if he doesn’t want the ‘perception’ why is he still talking about it? He needs to stop raising the issue himself if he wants it to go away but he doesn’t, frequently alludes to his background and instantly pins any criticism of what he says or does on the fact of his background while stubbornly ignoring the advantages of that background. That’s why he’s so annoying he only presents what a bind it all is for him, how hard it makes it for him to speak out, how he’s accused of ‘hypocrisy’ while ignoring that he wouldn’t have that platform in the first place without all of the advantages that got him there.

      • valkenburg says:

        Except the title was very misleading. He doesn’t say he’s worried that he’s perceived as those things. He says basically says he’s tired of being called a “hypocrite” for being those things.

      • Carol says:

        @frisbee–The interviewer asked him why he was labeled a hypocrite. He answered correctly. And Kaiser, love her, went with a click-baity but not so accurate title.

        You could be right on past instances, I don’t know, but again, LBR here, the whole thing was a strawman to stop his talk about the refugees.

      • frisbee says:

        I agree with you about preventing him from talking about refugees but by now he should know his own press. The Brit press pack are predominately right wing, they are going to say anything to stop him saying anything supportive of refugees. He must have known this before he opened his mouth, after all it’s part of the territory. They ripped Lily Allen to pieces for showing some compassion towards other human beings. He annoys me because while he must understand how the media works in the UK – he’s using the media to put his POV across – but is still bleating about how he is perceived. He’s complaining about the stick he believes he is beaten with even though the stick is accurate. I’d have more respect for him if he said ‘I am what I am and in a democratic society I’m entitled to express and opinion’ which he is instead of banging on about how he’s perceived as an upper middle class white male – which he also is.

      • Sixer says:

        Carol – the problem Frisbee and I have with Bendy is that he has history in protesting about the unfairness of reverse classism and crying victim. People pointing out class privilege is not reverse classism. Like reverse racism, reverse classism does not exist because classism and racism is about power balance.

        I agree this isn’t the point he was making here but that attitude still underlies it. He should just have said something like, “There will always be naysayers. You’ve just got to do what you think is best.”

        Some people are always going to make digs at so-called champagne socialists. But just as many are going to think they are doing fabulous philanthropic work. That Benny’s reflex to this is usually to moan that posh people are victims too is where he goes wrong. I don’t criticise champagne socialists. I do criticise twits who equate a bit of internet bitchery with actual power structure-based oppression.

        ETA: posting as frisbee was. Sorry, frisbee, to repeat you!

      • frisbee says:

        Sixer – don’t worry about it mate, I don’t post very often because you get there first and I usually agree with what you say so I don’t bother – and because I don’t want to appear like a creepy stalker.

      • Sixer says:

        Today, I am the creepy stalker!

      • Megan says:

        I don’t think people in positions of privilege should whine about how hard they have it, but that doesn’t make their feelings any less real to them. If the Democratic Party had understood how white working class and middle class men (and plenty of women) felt – even if they did not think the feelings were justified – we might not have elected a fascist Cheeto.

      • Tina says:

        I saw his diatribe at Hamlet and must admit that I rolled my eyes a little, even though I do agree with helping refugees. But it had nothing to do with him being a white toff: (a) it’s a long play, and as good as it was, we wanted to go home; (b) he had no way of knowing what anyone in that audience gave or didn’t give towards helping refugees; and (c) I know some politicians, and most of them are good people trying to do the right thing (if they cared primarily about money, they wouldn’t be in politics) [This applies to my experience in the UK]. “Fuck the politicians” was not an effective way to express his message.

    • tegteg says:

      The headline should read: Benedict Cumberbiscuit worries that he’s being perceived accurately.

    • Cee says:

      I was honestly floored by the title. He is all of that, with the pretension of being SO MUCH MORE.

      I also feel sympathy towards Sophie, Kaiser. I might not like her work, nor do I like controlling people, but it does sound like she was alone during the first months.

      • Caro says:

        To be fair Hamlet & Strange were planned before the pregnancy – if he didn’t help she’d hardly have rushed to have another child.

    • ravensdaughter says:

      Exactly. “Dr Strange” was interesting, but even that character started as a premier neurosurgeon with a very lucrative practice. The goatee didn’t make the aura of white privilege go away.

    • Maria_ says:


    • Carmen says:

      Oh for heaven sake! You’re white, you’re male and you’re upper class, but I forgive you anyway. Feel better now?

      White guilt and white privilege are equally tiresome in completely different ways.

    • Annetommy says:

      He is white, male and middle class. It’s fine, nothing to be ashamed of. You don’t choose those traits anyhow. It’s what you do with your life, and for others, having been given those traits, that matters. I perceive myself as young, willowy, with flowing glossy hair and lovely long fingernails. Unfortunately other people don’t….

    • SM says:

      I got a good laugh from this headline alone. He is white, a male and upper class. Own it and use tour possition of power for good things rather than complain

    • Caro says:

      He wasn’t complaining – simply stating how the press perceived him – Cumbers has also talked rapidly – in a stream of consciousness way. He’s hard working, clearly loves his wife and stands up for a lot of good causes and charities – give him a break!

    • Maude says:

      Insufferable man! He’s upset that people complain that he is using his white privilege to his advantage? Insufferable twit. Just go away!!!

  2. Alix says:

    He IS white, male, and upper-class. His worry should be that that’s ALL he’s perceived as.

    • MI6 says:

      Well said!

    • Megan says:

      He is also a husband, a father, an actor, and a humanitarian. People perceive him as they want to.

      • Tulip Garden says:

        That’s the thing isn’t it? He is all of the things that Alix stated and the things that you stated. Plus there’s probably lots of other stuff that we just don’t know. Human beings, funny it’s almost like we aren’t all codified by race, wealth, nationality! I know it affects life, experiences, and all of it. I truly do know. The optimist in me also wants to believe that all of us can be so much more than whatever cards we were dealt.
        I don’t know if this sounds stupid or not. I just want us all to be free to be the best “us” we can be and, sometimes, other people’s perceptions are just that. It isn’t what or who we are.

      • Locke Lamora says:

        He gets to be much more because of the cards he was dealt. People who are not white and upper class rarely have the luxury.
        I realise he didn’t say that here, but he constantly fails to recognise the immense privilege he has.

        That kind of thinking – everyone can be everything – annoys me. Because, as lovely as it’s sounds, is simply not true.

      • Tulip Garden says:

        @Locke Lamora,
        I get what you are saying and agree totally. I don’t think everyone can be anything. There are all kinds of limits. Also, though, I don’t want people to be “labelled” or “put in boxes” because of whatever their situations. Truly, other people’s perceptions of you can have a huge effect on you.
        I just don’t want women, for instance, to be told that they are limited because they are women. I don’t want POC to be told that their options are limited because of that. I’m just saying that we all should fight the good fight, screw what other’s think and live up to our best potential.
        I’m never going to be a millionaire, have the nicest of material goods (in my family, little less the world) but that doesn’t mean that I am unworthy of respect and unable to make my own contribution to society and to my family.
        I expect that those with privilege should also to their best. We all should.
        Sorry, I’m usually so cynical. Guess I am in an optimistic mood right now. Believe me, it’ll wear off :)

    • KK says:

      @Tulip Garden

      I agree. Honestly I think everybody is so hung up on they way that they are perceived that even if they think they are doing the right thing if they get any sort of critisism they feel the need to justify themselves, which only serves to perpetuate the idea that they did something wrong in the first place. Sure, whitems privilege is real and it’s there, but to say someone can or cannot do something because they are too white or too privileged isn’t even reverse racism or classics, it IS racism and classism. We are at a point in history where people need to just focus on what they think is right and wrong, not who is telling them right from wrong.

      Similarly, I think people should stop saying that we need to give those uneducated and unprivileged a soapbox to stand on. All that’s doing is keeping them in the same shitty circumstances they were in in the first place. Most people KNOW how bad it is, and now we’re at a point where merely talking about it is redundant. Instead we should be working towards giving them better education, better resources, and a better chance at becoming the best them they could be. NO ONE is ENTITLED to anything, including influence, but they are ABSOLUTELY entitled to the things that can help them reach their fullest potential and contribute to their community. That goes for higher classes, too; there is no doubt in my mind that many of the older gen stars benefited completely off of the fact that they were born with the right skin color, or the right amount of money, or came from the right family, but all anybody is doing is bitching about privilege from their air conditioned homes sipping Starbucks but they are not actually stepping up to help the impoverished in their community. If we worked to give everybody the same, we wouldn’t have to worry about diversity, as everybody would be equal. And I hate to say it but that does not include many of the ladies on here. I’ll probably get hate but I don’t care, I’m a quarter black who was born with advantages and disadvantages just like everyone else. I’ve had a rough life but I have been given gifts and I focus on the gifts, as I think everybody should be doing; not just whining about what they DON’T have.

      • Caro says:

        He often talks about how lucky he is and contributes massively to charities, his work with the Motor Neurone disease assoc, refugee charities & Letters Live etc

  3. Greenieweenie says:

    Should we perceive him as culturally black, female and working poor?

  4. grabbyhands says:

    Wait, he’s just NOW worrying about this?? Yikes.

    Bless his heart, he tries so hard to not sound likes he’s not an upper class twit of the year and just keeps reinforcing it with every word.

    • Digital Unicorn (aKa Betti) says:

      He tries waaay to hard to be nonchalant and cool but he comes across as a snobby, try hard twit most of the time. Success has made his attitude worse, he was never this bad.

      For he love of god Bendy just embrace who u r. I’d have a bit more respect for u if u did.

  5. lightpurple says:

    So, he’s actually an Asian female living below the poverty line?

    “And there’s the kid’s education.” God help us all!

  6. MI6 says:

    …because that’s what he is?

  7. Sixer says:

    I am perceived as white, female, unkempt and gobby. This is because I am white, female, unkempt and gobby. Go figure.

    I think he shouldn’t be normalising fascists like Nigel Farage. Nigel Farage is smart like a grooming sex abuser is smart. He’s groomed people politically so that they think up is down and black is blue. That’s not the kind of smartness I approve of, thankyouverymuch.

    • Digital Unicorn (aKa Betti) says:

      ITA about Farage. That man is scary and he’s is NOT smart. Just cause he’s had a lot of media training over the years doesn’t make him smarter then me or anyone else who sees him for what he is -an orange fascist.

      But this just shows how clueless Bendy is, he’s basically admitting to being as bright as a blackout esp if u say Farage is smarter then u r.

    • Ashamed 2 b a Fl girl says:

      Sixer, you are so positively spot on…it slays me!

    • Tulip Garden says:

      Read your posts all the time and never would I have pegged you as unkempt, maybe, Helena Bonham Carter-ish cool! I perceive you as witty, intellectual without being a know it all, and, in general, great fun. All that to ask, what in the heck is “gobby”?

      • Sixer says:

        I am the epitome of scruffy, I’m afraid. It’s a good day if I’ve brushed my hair. Mr Sixer will laugh out loud because he has an almighty crush on Helena Bonham Carter!

        Gobby = loudmouth!

      • Tulip Garden says:

        You have given life to my view of you! As for Mr. Sixer, twice he has proven a man of great taste: you and Helena Bonham Carter!! Good for him…and you :)

        Oh, and gobby is just another word for opinionated and social. I am kind of opinionated and anti-social so there’s that.

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      Thanks for saying this about that special Machiavellian type of ‘smartness.’ It is nothing to applaud, Obviously Upper-Class White Man. It reminds me of when one of my kid’s friends said once – they must have been about 9 or 10 – “Say what you want about Hitler, he was one heck of a leader!” We were horrified. She couldn’t have come up with that on her own.

      (And maybe making it worse? Little friend was being raised by apparently liberal parents. Upper-Class White parents.)

      • Tulip Garden says:

        The Hitler thing always baffles me. He was charismatic and he was there with a particular, hateful, message at a particular point in German history. End of.
        Lastly, the stupendous “leader” bit off way more then he could chew and refused to face the international music, so to say. Nothing says “I believe in my cause and will continue to lead despite defeat” like suicide. “smh”

      • Tulip says:

        I think (hope) that it’s a generation gap. We can’t take for granted that kids will understand the evil of Hitler since they don’t even have a relative alive who had to live through that horror. They think he’s a boogeyman from history who can’t touch them and who can’t be mimicked. They’re wrong.

        What did her parents do after? Do they know about her words?

      • Tulip says:

        I think (hope) that it’s a generation gap. We can’t take for granted that kids will understand the evil of Hitler since they don’t even have a relative alive who had to live through that horror. They think he’s a boogeyman from history who can’t touch them and who can’t be mimicked. They’re wrong.

        What did her parents do after? Do they know about her words?

      • Sixer says:

        WATP – there does seem to be a strand in liberal thinking at the moment seeking to excuse the inexcusable. Along the lines of, “Well, these fascist types are very clever at stirring up the peasants. We have to acknowledge that and probably start saying it’s ok for the peasants to be a little bit racist because they’ve been left behind by globalisation. Just as long as it’s not as racist as the fascists, it’ll be ok.”

        No, no, no and a thousand times no.

        In my (peasant) experience, you have about 20% of people being passionately anti-racist and anti-fascist and about 20% who are irredeemably xenophobic and awful. In the middle, you have 60% of people who blow with the prevailing wind. That’s 60% of people whose opinions are up for grabs.

        This is why I object so strenuously to people like Bendy and other liberal politicos and commentators responding to the rise of the far-right by normalising it in this way. It has to be fought against, not appeased.

      • SilverUnicorn says:

        ” there does seem to be a strand in liberal thinking at the moment seeking to excuse the inexcusable. ”

        So true and so terrifying!

      • Miss Jupitero says:

        Reminds me of a conversation I heard between my Italian grandmother and some of her friends. One of them said, “Ah, Mussolini… well, you have to admit he looked good, didn’t he?” My grandmother replied “Looked good? He looked good hanging from his feet, that’s when he looked good!” The conversation then shifted to Italian with lots of hand gestures…..

      • Miss Jupitero says:

        And to echo Sixer as I seem to want to do repeatedly: No, no, no and a thousand times no.

      • Who ARE These People? says:

        @Tulip – as for what her parents did, they weren’t there. My husband and I were, and to the best of my memory we said something gently corrective. To add to this, we’re Jewish. If it were to happen today, we would probably talk to her parents as an aside, without trying to shame their daughter for only repeating something she heard. It could have been at home, it could have been at her ‘progressive’ Montessori school, who knows?

        @Sixer I need to print out what you said so perfectly for my little “perfect political commentary” folder. And yes, I’ve used the term appeasement myself in other places. Sometimes it would be better if hope did not spring eternal. These people should be cut off at the knees right now without hesitation but I fear that those who could and should do it are paralyzed. We’ve seen this before.

      • Who ARE These People? says:

        @ Miss Jupitero thank you for the first laugh I’ve been able to have in too many hours.

      • SilverUnicorn says:

        @Miss Jupitero
        That’s what they were saying about Berlusconi too!!!
        My 4 grandparents were all Italian and went through fascism, they could all agree with your grannie that Mussolini looked very good upside down.
        No more harm from that point on!

      • Tina says:

        @Sixer, I am throwing aside my customary reserve to say extremely well done. You should be writing for the Observer.

      • Tulip says:

        @Who are these people: You were very kind in your response to her and were right in addressing it right away. And I never even thought she’d hear that from her school, but you’re right, it’s not necessarily her parents feeding her thoughtless ramblings. Thanks for replying.

    • jetlagged says:

      I suppose it will surprise no one, but Farage attended – and spoke – at a Trump rally… in Mississippi of all places.

  8. Chinoiserie says:

    I wonder to what conclusion that “Should you tell your friends wife he is cheating” article arrived to.

    Benedict might have been more interested in the baby than the wife, not that he does not care about her as well.

  9. Senaber says:

    I thought this was an onion headline for a minute. Made me lol.

  10. swak says:

    First world problems!

  11. j says:

    idk maybe i’m reading something else but he seems more confused that that became the conversation instead of the migrants.

  12. Nancy says:

    I never had a passing thought about this guy until….Dr. Strange. Loved it. I didn’t know anything about this man so I was so surprised that he pulled off a Marvel flick. Very impressive Benedict, thanks for the escapism.

  13. Crox says:

    The headline made me raise my eyebrows, but it is more sensationalistic that the content itself. The interview makes it clear what he means and I actually agree with him on this one. He is white, male and upper-class, which he aknowlidges, and he wants to be an ally, But he keeps being called a hypocrite because he is not living through those problems.

    I am (mostly) white (you couldn’t tell the other side if I don’t dress in a certain way and re-do my hair) but everytime I try to understand something about the problems of minorities, while some people are kind with explanations, other completely freak out. At some point, you grow tired of trying to be an ally.

    • CornyBlue says:

      Ah yes wont someone think of the mostly white Ally

      • Crox says:

        See, this is what I’m talking about.

        The trouble with your way of thinking is that when white men hold majority of power, it makes it harder for anybody not in that group to gain access to power. Or am I wrong? That’s why it’s not such a bad thing not to burn your bridges. It’s better for them to be your allies than your enemies, even if you’re mad at them. Correct people when they’re wrong, teach them, but this attitude is really not helpful, if anything it’s working in reverse.

        Alternatively “not-white-men” could create their own power, but in predominantly white countries that has not worked yet, or is happening way too slowly, because those who have power are unwilling to share, and you won’t make them willing with sarcasm.

        I’m not saying Cumberbatch, or white men, or me or anybody is a victim. They (or we’re) not. Be mad all you want, but I’m telling you it’s a double-edged knife. All I’m saying is that kinder attitude will bring one further, when the person on the other side is still willing to listen. Cumberbatch is that type of person, it seems.

      • Tina says:

        It’s late, I’ll bite. Yes, Cumberbatch is being called a hypocrite because he is not living through those problems. And that is actually an issue, because he is asking other people (people who need council housing and people who use the NHS) not only to give money, but to deal with increased waiting times and fewer services. Giving money away is at no real cost to him. He will not see any change in his life through his political activism. Poorer people will.

        Is your other point really that we should be nice to white men because if we are, they might generously grant us some of the power that naturally belongs to them? Because even with Brexit, even with Trump, even with Le Pen and whatever horrors await us in 2017, I do not accept that. I am a nice white lady who never makes a peep, but I have become a vocal feminist and anti-fascist this year. We have been kind. We have been nice. That’s over. Now we fight.

      • Anne says:

        Actually, that whole backlash was from the right and fueled by racism. Concern about resources is often used to cover for racism and xenophobia in right-wing media. It’s along the lines of “illegals stealing our jobs” in the US.

        While having resource concerns is understandable, it’s not a legitimate reason to dismiss these topics.

      • Tina says:

        It’s not remotely the same thing as the US “illegals stealing our jobs” rhetoric, which statistic is completely untrue (whereas UK concerns about limited resources are based in fact).

        Look at the German experience. They have admitted as many refugees as the British left would like to do, and the formerly unthinkable in the form of the AfD might well form part of a new coalition government. Don’t dismiss these concerns so cavalierly.

        And btw, no one is suggesting that these topics be dismissed. Simply that Cumberbatch should not have raised them in the forum that he did, and that the backlash was understandable.

      • hermia says:

        @Anne I totally agree with you, The two are exactly the same, but there will always be people who find some of the extreme right’s rants justifiable because it’s the easy way out.
        I don’t want to talk politics here, but just tax the 1% as they should and suddenly all sort of resources would become available, both in the UK and the US.
        But that would mean upsetting some very rich people, so why not blame migrants and refugees instead?
        An old game that always ends in the same old way.

      • Tina says:

        Please explain how anything I’ve said could possibly be aligned with the extreme right (of any country). That’s quite a serious accusation in these times.

        I find your entire comment quite extraordinary. I have no problem with taxing the 1%, in fact I would welcome it. No one is blaming the refugees. The grown ups are trying to figure out why the people have voted as they have done. If you are uninterested in winning elections and changing policy, Mr Corbyn and his party are over there.

      • Anne says:

        Illegal aliens do work jobs in the US (about 8 million of them). It’s just not jobs anyone wants since they are below minimum wage and with poor working conditions.

        The Afd has been rising in power since 2014. If it wasn’t refugees, it would have been something else. The Tories were already in bed with the Afd via the ECR until early this year anyway.

        The majority of the backlash in the UK came from the right, and it was centered on resources or “they commit crime/are ISIS,” but there’s an undeniable undercurrent of racism and xenophobia behind much of it. And they do want these topics dismissed. Public figures who spoke out elsewhere got the same treatment or worse, and all the talk focuses on why hands are tied instead of what can be done and what is happening.

      • Tina says:

        I feel like I’m taking crazy pills. Immigrants do work jobs. Not jobs Americans want. Therefore, in reality, immigrants are not taking jobs from Americans. Agreed, by any sensible measure?

        Moving on. The Conservatives are not really aligned with the AfD, for the very good reason that the majority of Conservatives don’t give a toss about Europe or the ECR. The Conservatives brought gay marriage into this country. They don’t agree with the AfD on anything beyond getting out of the EU.

        And I’m sorry, but your last paragraph is nonsensical. People have voted to leave the EU. If the referendum were rerun today, they would still vote to leave the EU. I am more conservative than you and hermia, that’s for sure. But I am anti-fascist and I believe in civil liberties. And, as Sixer says, it is now for the centre-left and the centre-right to come together to defeat fascism.

      • Crox says:

        Tina, I’ll only anser your second paragraph because others were already answering the rest:

        No, I’m not saying you (we, they …) should be nice to all white men in power in case they will feel generous all of a sudden. I’m saying you (we, they) should be niceR to those white men (in power) who actually agree with the cause, only they are misguided about certain issues within the cause. These people are normally willing to listen and learn, but sarcasm and hostility too often have the opposite effect.

      • hermia says:

        @Tina Firstly, you may have noticed I was talking to Anne, not to you.
        Secondly: If winning elections means pandering to people who vote UKIP and take their news from The Daly Mail or The Sun, no I’m most certainly not interested.
        Thirdly: people voted to leave the EU because they want foreigners out, there is really nothing to figure out.
        The only thing is to let them have their way for a while, and move on. Technology is making the world even more globalised (meaning that nations as we know them are going to disappear eventually), they better get used to it.
        Many people in the US and the UK (and many other countries too) are afraid of this change, but there’s really nothing anyone can do. Young people know this, it’s mainly the middle aged and the old who hang on to their fears and nostalgia. Corbyn is also one of them. In fact, all of them (Trump, Sanders, Corbyn) represent the OLD.
        That’s really all I have to say about this.

      • Sixer says:

        I’m probably a tad too late to get involved in this particular one. Just a thought for Tina. Tina – I saw a tweet the other day that simply said, “Social mobility in Britain has to mean more than a one-way ticket to London.”

        I think this is incredibly true and also transcends current party politics. If we want to fight fascism – and, in the dangerous waters we find ourselves, that really does mean centre right and centre left working together, including on Brexit – it’s going to involve addressing economic inequalities. And those economic inequalities are starkly regional.

        For example: we don’t need HS2. It’s that one-way ticket to London, not t’other way around.

        My big problem with the liberal left at the moment, full spectrum from Blairites to Corbynites, is the imagining of the economically disadvantaged as white and male. They’ve got a fantasy white, male working class whose racism needs to appeased because of deindustrialisation. It’s nonsense. Austerity has hit women hardest. POC are overrepresented in the working class because of structural racism. As many working class people of both genders and all colours are anti-fascist as are ready to embrace it.

        On the Tory side? May is not strong enough to keep the swivel-eyed among her cohort under control. And the usual problems of the right – an inability to concede that the market will not necessarily provide, a damaging lingering colonial attitude, etc etc.

      • Sixer says:

        PS: vis a vis Benny speechifying after his performances. I think art is a slightly different product to other products. Audiences aren’t consumers in quite the same way because any performance has an underlying challenge in it. There’s always some form of tension between audience and performer, so it’s not a matter of “I purchased a ticket and I didn’t want to see that.”

        I’m all for Benny saying what he wants to say and ranting how he wants to rant after a performance. Go for it, Benny, is what I say.

        By the same token, I’m all for audience members disgruntled by it telling Benny to eff off. And Benny himself should have been prepared for every shade of reaction. His speechifying doesn’t annoy me: his whining about the negative side of the repercussions does.

      • Tina says:

        @Crox, I’m nice to everyone until they say or do something to harm my rights. We shouldn’t have to be nice to people who threaten to take away (or do take away) fundamental rights.

        @hermia, this is an open forum in which you categorised me as being part of “people who find some of the extreme right’s rants justifiable.” I have a perfect right (nay, an obligation) to respond to such comments.

        @Sixer, I don’t disagree that we need to tackle economic inequality, which is inextricably bound up with regional inequality in the UK. But as much as many people want to blame the votes for Brexit on austerity or for Trump on factory automation and the subsequent lack of jobs, the fact remains that in order to truly fix inequality, it’s going to take a lot of money.

        We could try to tax the 1% more, but it’s difficult to do that since they have the ability to move (look at how well that worked out in France). So we’re all going to have to pay higher taxes so that all people living in our country, including foreigners and refugees, can have proper health care and go to good schools. There may be lots of voters out there who are prepared to do that, but I don’t know where they are if so.

      • Sixer says:

        Tina – I think we have to look at austerity itself. I mean, we would differ on economic approach generally, but let’s just say I take your position that retrenchment was, and is, necessary.(I don’t: I’m a post Keynsian, but let’s say that I do.) Vast swathes of austerity as applied already has been penny wise and pound foolish. There is no point in spending a pound to save a penny.

        You don’t save money if the costs you cut transfer to other budgets – eg social care to health. You don’t save money by spending £20bn on Universal Credit when you have perfectly adequate existing benefits arrangements for groups just so that you can increase social control over those groups: you simply make the existing benefits slightly less generous. You don’t save money by cutting social care to the elderly if they end up bed blocking in hospitals instead.

        Likewise, you don’t spend fortunes on white elephants such as HS2 which will increase, not decrease, regional inequality. You join regional cities by rail and improve bus services instead.

        You don’t allocate £240 million over a Parliament to expanding grammar schools when every single piece of research indicates they decrease social mobility for the working class and extend it for the upper middle class.

        (Note: this isn’t a particular critique of the Tories – Labour has supported most of this stuff since 2008 itself and also is guilty of PFI and LOBO loans – the two biggest wastes of public money in recent memory.)

      • Tina says:

        @Sixer I absolutely take the point that austerity came with a lot of false economies. And I agree that both the Tories and Labour have been completely cavalier with public money. But our debt to gdp ratio has risen from 43.7% in 2007 to 90.6% in 2013. That was an unsustainable rise, and it had to be brought under control. Could it have been done better? Yes. Is there more room to maneuver? Not if we don’t want Japan-style debt levels.

      • Sixer says:

        At least we can agree on this: the best thing to do would be to NOT leave the EU!

      • Tina says:

        Absolutely agreed!

  14. Bex says:

    When I first read the headline my eyebrows shot halfway up my forehead because yeah, that’s exactly what he is. But I don’t think it’s entirely fair to what he’s actually saying, he’s just talking about the backlash he got for talking politics, not that he shouldn’t be perceived as upper class or whatever.

  15. seesittellsit says:

    I have no problem with an actor of any color, class, or background choosing a cause and helping it by raising money for it. I do have a problem with moralism and holding people who paid a great deal of money to see you play Hamlet captive to your views, and expressing them crudely and without the slightest awareness that the topic has a few nuances – for example, migrant reception centers are almost always built in poor areas: not in tony Hampstead, where he lives in his beautiful town home, not far from the Primrose Hill area where Ed Miliband, The Working Class Champion, who never held a real job in his life outside of politics, lives in HIS family’s two million pound townhome. So, yeah, that’s why BC comes across as an ignorant elitest arse. He did the same thing with BREXIT. When is the last time Cumberbatch strolled the streets of Oldham or Middlesborough?

    In other words, it’s not caring about migrant kids that is the problem, it’s how he handled it, at least to me. If it walks like a London luvvie, and talks like a London luvvie . . .

  16. Tan says:

    He is white
    Ans Upper class

    He is most famous as the snobby crazy detective Holmes who is pictured as sort of quirky upper class genius in this BBC version now

    So, what has he done that different that he would be seen different?
    He is perceived just the way he is

  17. H says:

    But you are a “white, privileged, upper class man,” Benedict. I’m sorry, but the more Benny opens his mouth, the less I want to watch anything he’s in!

  18. Daniel-q says:

    Hunter’s ex-boyfriend also got a call from her in the middle of his interview.
    And suddenly her name got into the article. Hmm….strange coincidence.
    Is this her same old game?

  19. Radley says:

    I get that he’s saying he wants to do something good with his privilege as opposed to being labeled and vilified because of it. Got it Benny.

    Now onto to what really made me raise an eyebrow. Isn’t this like the second interview that’s been interrupted by his wife calling?? Seems like that might be a planned thing in order to feign domesticity. Why so try hard? He’s still pinging, definitely.

  20. me says:

    But he IS white, male, and upper class.

  21. ell says:

    what do you mean ‘perceived’, he is. it’s like me bitching about being perceived as a blonde, cis female… like i am a blonde, cis female.

    also, everytime he talks he says something odd ‘i used to obsess about having children at 32′ as if he were a victorian lady, who does that?? i will never ever, get the boner for this man.

  22. jerkface says:

    Honestly, I like it when he Sherlocks and junk but I think if I were his publicist or his mom or his manager or if I just met him at a party I would have to kick him right in the can and ask him to just grunt and point at things in interviews instead of his usual pseudo intellectual shtick. Talk about your “craft” people eat that kind of crap up when the subject is British.

  23. TJ says:

    So what’s wrong with any of that? He wants to be perceived as female, black, and lower-class? (All opposites of what how he’s labeled himself, not that there’s anything wrong with any of those.)

  24. kimbers says:

    Never seen his work, but he comes across to people who dont know his credits like a total manB. Not gonna see him in ever.

  25. LilyT says:

    That’s WHAT HE IS. How about he owns that fact and why, so often, white upper class males are perceived as completely out of touch and unconcerned about the issues affecting women and POC. Make a clear distinction in the mind of the public, and for his own personal peace, that he is not like that.

  26. Guesto says:

    The fact he uses terms like ‘smart’ and ‘amazing’ to describe the noxious and toxic rise of Farage reveals the grim, entitled, blind ignorance at the heart of him.

    What a fu*king dunce he’s turned out to be.

    • spidey says:

      It is possible to be smart and horrible!

      • hermia says:

        Only if you think privately educated people are always smart. They sound smart, doesn’t mean that they are. Look at Boris Johnson.

      • spidey says:

        It is still possible to be smart (as in quick witted as opposed to academically clever) and horrible. Privately educated has nothing to do with it.

    • hermia says:

      Agreed. But I feel that in the UK, when people hear a posh accent they assume someone is clever. I have witnessed this countless times. I fear it’s Cumberbatch’s case. He sounds it, but he’s not.

      • spidey says:

        Well I’m in the UK and don’t assume that – and if you go and look at the
        Guardian website, and comments made by readers, there is a goodly proportion who assume everyone who is posh is as thick as a plank. 😕

  27. spidey says:

    I wonder if he meant that he wished people wouldn’t think only that about him?

  28. hermia says:

    What does he want to be perceived as, working class, black and female?? You are what you are, mate!

  29. Scout says:

    He’s a vile person, I don’t understand how he has fans.

  30. Tanakasan says:

    There’s nothing inherently wrong with being white, male, or upper-class. This world is filled with all maA white coworker was recently telling me how she’s so “embarrassed to be white.” Don’t bring that crap to other ethnicities. It’s so disingenuous and tacky.

  31. Plum says:

    FYI the posh giraffe fucked off to Southern France when that kid was a few months old. It was on her friend’s Instagram. Aside from that she’s been seen (and photographed) on dates with other men and has a nanny besides so I’d save my “pity” if I were you.