Benedict Cumberbatch has apologized for using the term "coloured" when describing black actors during an appearance on the U.S talk show Tavis Smiley. Ironically, the Imitation Game actor was shining a light on the issue of diversity within the UK creative industry when he used the term.

Benedict CumberbatchBenedict Cumberbatch [L] starred in the Oscar-winning slavery drama 12 Years a Slave

"I think as far as coloured actors go, it gets really different in the UK, and a lot of my friends have had more opportunities here [in the US] than in the UK, and that's something that needs to change," Cumberbatch said.

"Something's gone wrong, we're not representative enough in our culture of different races and that really does need to step up a pace."

Show Racism the Red Card, the UK's anti-racism charity, said that while they applauded Cumberbatch's message, they condemned his use of the phrase "colored".

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"Benedict Cumberbatch has highlighted a very important issue within the entertainment industry and within society," a SRtRC spokesperson told The Independent.

"In doing so, he has also inadvertently highlighted the issue of appropriate terminology and the evolution of language. Show Racism the Red Card feel that the term 'coloured' is now outdated and has the potential to cause offence due to the connotations associated with the term and its historical usage.

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"Appropriate terminology differs from country to country; for example, we know that in some countries the term 'coloured' is still widely used, and that in the US the term 'people of colour' is quite common.

In a swift apology circulated to news agencies, Cumberbatch called himself an "idiot" for using the term, adding "The most shaming aspect of this for me is that I was talking about racial inequality in the performing arts in the UK 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."

Cumberbatch will soon begin work on Marvel's Doctor Strange, set for release on November 4, 2016. 

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