Cumming returns OBE because of British Empire’s ‘toxic’ record

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Cumming also expressed his “great gratitude” for the honour in the first place after explaining his reasons for his decision…reports Asian Lite News

‘Battle of the Sexes’ star Alan Cumming has handed back his OBE over ‘toxicity’ in the British Empire.

The actor, 58, was presented with the honour at Buckingham Palace in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2009 for his ‘activism for equal rights for the gay and lesbian community’ in the U.S. but announced recently that he has handed back the award, reports Mirror.co.uk.

Taking to Twitter on his 58th birthday he wrote: “The Queen’s death and the ensuing conversations about the role of monarchy and especially the way the British Empire profited at the expense (and death) of indigenous peoples across the world really opened my eyes.”

He further said, quoted by Mirror.co.uk: “Also, thankfully, times and laws in the U.S. have changed, and the great good the award brought to the LGBTQ+ cause back in 2009 is now less potent than the misgivings I have being associated with the toxicity of empire (OBE stands for Officer of the British Empire).”

The actor told his 479,000 followers he wanted to share with them ‘something I recently did for myself.’ He further quipped: “I’m now back to being plain old Alan Cumming again. Happy birthday to me!”

Cumming also expressed his “great gratitude” for the honour in the first place after explaining his reasons for his decision.

He said in 2019 he was proud of starring in the first ever network drama on US television to have a gay leading character, playing Dr Dylan Reinhart in Instinct, which is shown on Sky Witness in the UK.

Cumming posted a message on Instagram at the time, saying he was proud to have been part of a show in which “millions of people will have seen a same-sex marriage portrayed for the first time”.

The actor’s roles across stage and screen have ranged from BBC comedy The High Life and playing Hamlet for the English Touring Theatre, to US shows such as the Good Wife and a Broadway version of Cabaret.

Cumming, who has dual UK and US citizenship, also recently hosted a travel show on Channel 4 with his friend and fellow actor Miriam Margolyes.

He received an honorary degree from the Open University in 2015, for his contribution to education and culture.

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