Benedict Cumberbatch, whose ancestors were slave owners, could pay compensation

WALL – Barbados ended its connection with England in 2021 after 400 years of history. After being declared a republic with an elected president succeeding Queen Elizabeth II, the country is running a campaign to get compensation from the descendants of the slaves. British actor Benedict Cumberbatch, whose ancestors owned an 18th-century sugarcane farm, may also face legal action for his family’s historical links to the slave trade in Barbados.

According to the news reported by NTV, David Denny, one of the officials running the campaign in Barbados, said, “Anyone who profits from slavery will be asked for compensation, including the Cumberbatch family.”


David Commissiong, vice-president of Barbados’ national compensation commission, said of the plan to take legal action against the Cumberbatch family: “It’s still in its early stages. We’re just getting started. Much of the history is only now really coming to light.”

Although the Cumberbatch family no longer own the Cleland farm, the amount paid to them when slavery was abolished is claimed to have been worth about $1 million in British pounds.


Actor Cumberbatch has said before that his ancestors were slave owners. Speaking to The Telegraph in 2018, Cumberbatch said, “You don’t have to look far to see your history of slave ownership. My family was part of the white sugar industry, it’s really shocking.”