Hollywood actor Benedict Cumberbatch has made headlines but for the wrong reason. The actor is reportedly in legal trouble. If the latest reports are to be believed, the family of the Marvel actor is facing potential legal action over having historical links to the slave trade in Barbados.
What is the case?
According to a report by DailyO, “Cumberbatch’s seventh great-grandfather bought the Cleland plantation in the north of Barbados in 1728, which housed 250 slaves until the abolition of slavery in 1834. The slave plantation is reported to have made the Cumberbatch family a small fortune.”
Benedict’s alleged connection
The case against Benedict Cumberbatch and his family has its roots in the allegations posed against British Conservative MP Richard Drax. In November 2022, the BBC reported that Drax is facing demands to pay compensation for his ancestors’ alleged roles in the slave trade many years ago. Reports further suggest that Drax inherited a huge plantation in Barbados after his father’s death in 2017. As the investigation deepened with time, reports suggest that the same case has connections with Benedict Cumberbatch’s family members. Talking about the renowned actor, he was born in London, United Kingdom.
Actions to be taken
With hate campaigns against Benedict Cumberbatch and Richard Drax increasing over time, the Barbados government is likely to insist both of them pay reparations for the earlier slavery over their links to the sugar plantations in Barbados.
According to a report by The Guardian, “Barbados’s National Task Force on Reparations, part of the Caricom Reparations Commission (Caricom), previously focused on seeking reparations from colonial powers and wealthy institutions that made hefty profits from slavery.”
Another report stated, “Recently, however, it singled out a specific family for the first time, targeting the British Conservative MP Richard Drax over his family’s ownership of a vast sugar plantation on the island.”
Earlier in a 2018 interview with The Telegraph, Benedict Cumberbatch said, “We have our past – you don’t have to look far to see the slave-owning past. We were part of the whole sugar industry, which is a shocker.”