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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Benedict Cumberbatch Makes a Bad First Impression in Korea

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Ilgan Sports

With the opening of “Avengers: Infinity War” only a couple of weeks left, four featured actors are visiting Korea for a promotional tour.

On April 11, Benedict Cumberbatch arrived in Korea through Incheon International Airport. Exiting the gate, the actor greeted fans and reporters by pressing his palms together and bowing head down.

The picture of his greeting spread quickly through the Internet, causing controversy. On Korean search engines like Naver and Daum, search results for Benedict Cumberbatch come with related terms including the following: “Buddhist Greeting,” “Buddhist Greeting Racism,” “Benedict Cumberbatch Racism.”

While some argue that he was just trying to be polite, others point out that he is only culturally ignorant to think that all Asians greet with their palms pressed together.

Below are some of the notable reactions people shared on Twitter.


“None of the Eastern Asians do Buddhist greetings except for Buddhist monks and G-Dragon. Only White people do this to greet Asians.”

“Benedict doing a Buddhist greeting drives me crazy”

“Seriously, White people would think that doing Buddhist greeting is polite but it’s actually really ignorant and it only proves that they didn’t even try to research about it. That’s very rude and racist.”

“Buddhist greeting is a Western tradition of expressing one’s own ignorance to another.”

“It feels really bad when someone does the Buddhist greeting because it’s racist but the person who does it is doing it very politely to greet in Asian way so you eventually miss the timing to express your anger.”


As the controversy grew, the promoter wrote, “Benedict Cumberbatch had interests in the Buddhist culture and his greeting doesn’t mean or intend any racism.”

“Avengers: Infinity War” is to be released on April 25 in Korea.

By Heewon Kim