Benedict Cumberbatch’s family could face legal pressure to pay reparations over Barbados’ historic ties to the slave trade, report says

Benedict Cumberbatch at the awards ceremony

Benedict Cumberbatch attends the EE British Academy Film Awards 2022.Samir Hussein/WireImage via Getty Images

  • A Barbados task force is seeking reparations from the descendants of wealthy slave owners.

  • According to The Telegraph, task force officials did not rule out the possibility of targeting Benedict Cumberbatch’s family.

  • Cumberbatch’s ancestors owned a sugar cane plantation in Barbados that housed 250 slaves.

The family of Oscar-nominated actor Benedict Cumberbatch is facing possible demands to pay slavery reparations over its historic ties to sugar cane plantations in Barbados. Telegraph.

The Caribbean nation of Barbados has begun to focus on the wealthy descendants of its slave owners as part of a campaign to obtain reparations for slavery.

The National Task Force on Reparations for Barbados, part of the Caricom Reparation Commission (CARICOM), has previously focused on seeking reparations from colonial powers and wealthy institutions that profited heavily from slavery. I was. The Guardian newspaper reported.

But recently, according to The Guardian, it singled out a specific family for the first time by targeting British Conservative MP Richard Drax over the family’s ownership of a large sugar cane plantation on the island.

David Commissioning, Barbados’ ambassador to Caricom and deputy chairman of the state’s task force, told The Guardian last month that Drax and other family members would face lawsuits if they did not agree to pay compensation. Said it could be done.

“It’s a problem before the Barbados government right now,” he told the newspaper. “It’s being addressed at the highest level.”

The Cumberbatch family is now the subject of a lawsuit. When pressed by The Telegraph as to whether Cumberbatch’s family would be traced, the committee did not rule it out.

“It’s early days. We’re just getting started. A lot of this history is really unfolding now,” he said.

David Denny, a leading figure in the reparations movement and general secretary of the Caribbean Movement for Peace and Integration, told The Telegraph: “White plantation owners who profited from the slave trade descendants, including the Cumberbatch family, should be required to pay reparations.”

Cumberbatch’s ancestor, Abraham Cumberbatch, Purchased the Cleland farm in the 18th century. According to The Telegraph, about 250 slaves lived there until slavery was abolished in 1834.

Around daily mail, The Cumberbatch family made a fortune on the plantation. After slavery was abolished, the family received her £6,000 payment from the British government. This equates to about $1 million in today’s money.

The actor has spoken publicly about his family’s slave-owning history. 2018 Telegraph: “We have a past. You don’t have to look far to see a slave-owning past. We were part of the whole sugar industry. This is shocking.”

Cumberbatch previously played a slave owner in the Oscar-winning 2013 film 12 Years a Slave. He also played William His Pit the Younger in the 2006 film Amazing Grace, a portrayal of the British abolitionist movement.

According to the Daily Mail, Cumberbatch viewed his role in “Amazing Grace” as “a sort of apology” for his family’s role in the slave trade.

The paper also reported that Cumberbatch’s mother once advised him not to use the family surname professionally in case he became the target of a reparations campaign.

Cumberbatch did not immediately respond to an insider’s request for comment.

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