Iain Dale is Leading Britain's Conversation.
24 October 2016, 14:40
Benedict Cumberbatch Defends Refugee Comments
The actor told LBC that his criticism of the government over the refugee situation “could have been better”, but that his actions made a difference.
LBC’s Shelagh Fogarty brought up the situation from last winter when the actor started giving speeches to audiences at his West End performance of Hamlet, telling them “f*ck the politicians” and urging them to donate to Save The Children.
“Maybe I got carried away, maybe I shouldn’t have said some of what I said. All I was trying to do was shine a light on an issue that was at certain times being overlooked.”
"I fully stand by what I did. Maybe the way I did it could have been better."
Like many people, it was the images of Syrain toddler, Aylan, whose lifeless body was picked up off a Greek beach by a Turkish police officer after he died trying to get to Europe with his family, that really shocked Benedict into action.
“As a new parent I think I was particularly susceptible to the image of Aylan being picked up from the surf of a beach where people would casually be playing with their children on holiday.
“I don’t know anyone who wasn’t moved or touched by it."
Benedict, who is currrently promoting his latest film 'Doctor Strange', points out that the message he gave at his shows last year wasn’t for the commentators that criticised him, it was for the people in the room, and they put their hands in their pockets and gave generously, raising over £150,000 for charity.
Almost a year on, attention is now on the situation in the Calais ‘Jungle’ camp, which is being dismantled today. The Sherlock actor said that the action being taken at the camp “seems worrying” because of “the speed with which it’s being done and how it’s being done.”
In spite of the backlash he’s faced over his comments in the past, he says he will continue to use his profile to help where he thinks he can.
“Politically, yes, I know I’ve got myself into trouble in the past by speaking out of turn. I know I’m a white, privileged actor, but I also have a profile and a lot of attention on me, and I gladly shine a spotlight on those who need that attention.”
Watch the full interview: