Sam Elliott Has Apologized To Benedict Cumberbatch And The Gay Community Following His Power Of The Dog Comments

2022’s Awards Season is officially over, with the final statues given out at the (controversial) Academy Awards. One of the most celebrated movies of the year was Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog, which got its wide release on Netflix. And now actor Sam Elliott has apologized to Benedict Cumberbatch and the gay community following his controversial (expletive-filled) statements about the drama.

Prior to the Oscars, A Star is Born actor Sam Elliott gave a scathing review of The Power of the Dog. Mainly he seemed to take umbrage with how the West was portrayed on screen, including queer characters like Benedict Cumberbatch’s antagonist. There was a ton of backlash and discourse online, especially over the suggestion that there aren’t LGBTQ+ folks in the West. Now Elliott has opened up about those infamous comments to Deadline. He opened up about offering his opinion on WTF with Marc Maron, saying:

First, don't go do a podcast whose call letters are W.T.F. That movie struck a chord with me. And in trying to tell the guy, the WTF guy, how I felt about the film, I wasn't very articulate about it. I didn't articulate it very well. And I said some things that hurt people, and I feel terrible about that.

And just like that, actor/podcast host Marc Maron will ever be “The WTF guy” in my mind. Sam Elliott was a guest on his massively popular podcast, but it looks like he might regret signing up to appear. That, and not properly articulating his feelings about The Power of the Dog. Luckily he got the opportunity to address those viral comments. Later in the same interview, Elliott went on to apologize to the queer community about his infamous The Power of the Dog comments. 

The gay community has been incredible to me my entire career. And I mean my entire career – from before I got started when I was in this town. Friends on every level, and in every job description up until today with my agent, my dear friend, my agent for a number of years. And I’m sorry that I hurt any of those friends, and someone that I loved, and anyone else by the words that I used.

Some people definitely took umbrage with the insinuation that the movie’s queer story wasn’t accurate, while he cited “macho men” that he knew from the West. But Sam Elliott has addressed them head on, issuing what seems like a genuine apology. The 77 year-old actor also addressed Jane Campion and Benedict Cumberbatch directly, saying:

I also told this What The F podcaster that I thought Jane Campion was a brilliant director, and I want to apologize to the cast of The Power Of The Dog – brilliant actors all – and in particular Benedict Cumberbatch. I can only say that I’m sorry, and I am. I am.

Well, there you have it. Sam Elliott might have been in the film world for decades, but he’s still able to look inward and reflect on how his words have power. Elliott is someone who is passionate about Westerns, but was able to see how filmmaker Jane Campion, Benedict Cumberbatch, and company were able to put their own spin on the iconic genre.

The Power of the Dog is streaming now on Netflix. Be sure to check out the 2022 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience. 

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.