Marvel Star Benedict Cumberbatch Is Not Okay With Female Fans Calling Themselves Cumberbitches

Being a celebrity comes with tons of perks, and one of those is definitely the impressive fan base that follows many stars’ lives. Of course, this kind of celebrity status can be a double-edged sword.

While some famous people seem happy to interact with the members of their fandoms, others are driven to seclusion in order to avoid the worst behavior from fans who claim to adore them. Some stars are so famous that their fans even give themselves a nickname to help communicate their shared fandom with the world. 

Benedict Cumberbatch is the beneficiary of one such group of fans, but he’s not happy with what they’ve decided to call themselves. 

Many celebrity fandoms have their own name

Whether the name comes from the media coverage of the fandom or from the fans themselves, there are many fan groups that have been given a nickname. The phenomenon isn’t new.

Those obsessed with The Beatles in the 1960s and 1970s were dubbed “Beatlemaniacs.” Today, those who closely follow Beyoncé’s impressive career call themselves the “BeyHive,” and fans of Ed Sheeran have taken on the name “Sheerios.” Jennifer Aniston has her “Fanistons” and Justin Bieber has “Beliebers.” 

Typically, these fandoms are somewhat tongue-in-cheek, used to demonstrate an affinity for the star in question but also poke a little fun at the fans’ own starstruck nature. The playful names bring a sense of levity, enjoyment, and community to the groups that follow these celebrities. 

Benedict Cumberbatch has a strong fan following

Benedict Cumberbatch looking over the camera, in front of a black background
Benedict Cumberbatch | Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

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Cumberbatch was one of those celebrities who stayed under the radar for a long time before bursting into superstardom. His acting credits date all the way back to 2002 when he first appeared in a TV movie called Fields of Gold. 

He maintained a steady if not particularly groundbreaking career for a decade, appearing in the TV mini-series Fortysomething, playing Stephen Hawking in the 2004 TV movie Hawking, and even portraying The Creature and Victor Frankenstein in 2011’s Frankenstein

It wasn’t until his 2014 appearance in The Imitation Game — which earned him an Oscar nomination — when Cumberbatch really had a breakthrough role that increased his public clout. That appearance and his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes in the TV series Sherlock have definitely caused his star to rise exponentially.

The actor is busy now with multiple projects in various stages of production and a slate of upcoming films that stretches years into the future. This fame has also brought a growing fan base. 

Benedict Cumberbatch is not happy with his fandom’s chosen name

Benedict Cumberbatch
Benedict Cumberbatch | VALERY HACHE/AFP via Getty Images

There’s no denying that Cumberbatch is a distinctive name. In fact, the name is so unique that it has even been the source of a silly social media trend where users get an auto-generated version of the name for themselves. “Bentobox Crumplehorn” and “Cadbury Calldispatch” are both options. The name is Cumberbatch’s given birth name, and he even considered using his middle name (Carlton) as a surname to avoid confusion over the cumbersome pronunciation. 

Fans have had no trouble adapting, however. In fact, several of Cumberbatch’s female fans refer to themselves as “Cumberbitches.”

As clever as the word play may be, there is one person who is definitely not okay with the moniker, and that’s Cumberbatch himself. According to Mental Floss, Cumberbatch made it clear in no uncertain terms that he didn’t accept the fandom’s nickname.

He reportedly said: “I won’t allow you to be my bitches. I think it sets feminism back so many notches. You are . . . Cumberpeople.”

Despite Cumberbatch’s insistence on a more inclusive and less derogatory name choice, many continue to use the vulgar nickname to refer to themselves and their fandom.