“I’d defend gay rights ‘to the death’.” – Benedict Cumberbatch

"The Imitation Game" Premiere - Arrivals - 2014 Toronto International Film FestivalBenedict Cumberbatch has said he would fight religious extremists to the death in defence of the right to express one’s sexuality.

Cumberbatch, who stars in The Imitation Game as Alan Turing, the brilliant Second World War code-breaker who was persecuted by the British authorities for being gay, lamented the horrors faced by gay people in many countries and fiercely declared his determination to stand with them in an interview with Out Magazine.

“People are being beheaded in countries right now because of their beliefs or sexual orientations,” he said. “It’s terrifying. It’s medieval — a beheading! I’d take up arms against someone who was telling me I had to believe in what they believed or they would kill me. I would fight them. I would fight them to the death. And, I believe, the older you get, you have to have an idea of what’s right or wrong. You can’t have unilateral tolerance. You have to have a point where you go, ‘Well, religious fundamentalism is wrong.’”

Despite his status as a wartime hero credited with cracking the German Enigma code at Britain’s Bletchley Park, Turing’s life was destroyed by the period’s anti-homosexuality laws. Police arrested him in 1952 after learning of his sexual relationship with a young Manchester man. After being found guilty of gross indecency, Turing accepted injections of synthetic oestrogen intended to neutralize his libido. He continued to work part-time for GCHQ, the postwar successor to Bletchley Park, but his mental health is said to have suffered, and he was found dead – of cyanide poisoning – by his cleaner in 1954.

Cumberbatch said The Imitation Game should be read as “a warning that this could very easily happen again” and dismissed the pardon handed posthumously to Turing by the Queen in 2013. “It’s an insult for anybody of authority or standing to sign off on him with their approval and say, ‘Oh, he’s forgiven,’” Cumberbatch explained.

“The only person who should be doing the forgiving is Turing, and he can’t because we killed him. And it makes me really angry. It makes me very angry.”

The actor also said during the interview that homosexuality remains a “huge obstacle” in Hollywood for those hoping to carve out careers as a leading man. “We all know actors who are gay who don’t want to talk about it or bring it up, or who deny it,” he said. “I don’t really know what they do to deal with it. Human rights movements and sexual and gay rights movements have made huge social progress in the last 40 years, without a doubt, but there’s a lot more work to be done.”

24 thoughts on ““I’d defend gay rights ‘to the death’.” – Benedict Cumberbatch

  1. I salute this man,s courage. This post further confirms that Africa is not the only homophobic society as the “intended runaways ” and asylum seekers on KD will want us to believe. He advocates freedom to believe what one wants to believe. That is uncommon wisdom. The indictment on Hollywood is food for thought. Wishing all my brothers,friends and foes here a blessed week

      • Pardon for what exactly? Who wronged who? He should have gotten a royal apology and a post humous Knighthood!

        Her Majesty keeps dancing around gay rights! She has to eventually take a stand let us know where she belongs. Monarchy is outdated anyways

  2. “…We all know actors who are gay, who don’t want to talk about it or bring it up, or who deny It…”. I would love to share a pot of tea and a lengthy conversation with this man…

  3. Hmm. So, why don’t we fight to death when we come across ‘Kitos’.. Ehn? Well, for me I’ll fight with everything I have. So far I’m not caught solving ‘bedmatics’, I’ll fight oh. I’ll fight, curse, beat, any idiot trying to run me down cause of my sexuality.

  4. @Gad, u caught the early morning shade you attempted to hurl my way, but seeing as it was too early in the day & I was in the middle of my beauty regimen, exfoliating and cleansing my skin – a thing you obviously know nothing about, I simply threw a switch and I was bathed in pink-hued halogen light, sorry luv you cant shade me, nahh, not even in 10 lifetimes, I’ve seen and handled bigger and better shade throwers!
    And yes, there are places where the majority isnt in a perpetual opium induced stupor, their brains addled and rendered barely functional by potent fumes and infusions of the opium, in those places whether your sexuality is gay or str8 is largely immaterial as you are judged based on the content of your character as well as your ability to contribute positively to society. If you havent been to or heard of or even reaf about such places (like I have ***flutters eyelashes***), the tragedy of your situation is clear and undisputable especially seeing as the tone of your comments strongly suggest someone well oast his prime – perhaps closer to the geriatric than the youthful phasr of life ***pele oooo***,its however not too late, I’d suggest you rustle up a visa somewhere, somehow and get around more, see the world (especially the right places) from different perspectives and not from the flawed and opium-induced hallucinatory perspective you have for so long been forced to accept as normal. I guarantee that it will change your life – it changed mine! But then am not hopelessly addicted to the delusions of the opium pipe sucking masses which you so fiercely cling to!
    Apparently, the phrase ‘the older you get, the more you get a sense of what’s right and what’s wrong’ is completely lost on you … now run along with your wrinkles and jiggly flabby bits and all … and shade no more! Or if you must shade, find someone more closely matched to you ***hugs you@long arms length, ewww****

  5. I like Mr. Cumberbatch, i really really do. The voice, his tall frame, his intellect and his acting chops.
    I know he might mean well by his support but i can’t help but feel this statement is just a marketing tool for the movie. Generate enough interest to get people to see the movie, after all, this is Hollywood.
    If only he knew I’ll go see anything he is in even though it sucks. OK scratch that last part. The fifth estate was way too terrible which i attribute to that hideous looking bleach blonde hair he was sporting.

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