Prince William, Kate Middleton Reject Benedict Cumberbatch’s Gay Rights Plea

“The Imitation Game” star sought the royals’ backing on petition asking U.K. to pardon homosexuals convicted under anti-gay laws as Alan Turing was

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attend a ceremony at St. Symphorien Military Cemetery on August 4, 2014 in Mons, Belgium
Getty Images/The Weinstein Company

Actor Benedict Cumberbatch is using his role in “The Imitation Game” to fight for gay rights in the U.K., but on Sunday Prince William and Kate Middleton turned down his request for help, according to The Independent.

Cumberbatch plays pioneering World War II code breaker Alan Turing in the film, which has earned Oscar nominations for Best Picture and Actor. Turing was a pioneering computer scientist who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952 for being gay, and took his own life two years later. In 2009, an “unequivocal apology” for Turing’s appalling treatment was issued by then prime minister Gordon Brown.

Cumberbatch signed an open letter petitioning the U.K. government to give the same apology that Turing received to some 49,000 others who were similarly convicted. The petition has been signed by nearly 90,000 supporters.

After the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge rejected Cumberbatch’s plea for support, a spokesperson said that as it was a government matter, they would make no comment.

“The UK’s homophobic laws made the lives of generations of gay and bisexual men intolerable,” the petition said.

“It is up to young leaders of today including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to acknowledge this mark on our history and not allow it to stand.

“We call upon Her Majesty’s Government to begin a discussion about the possibility of a pardoning all the men, alive or deceased, who like Alan Turing, were convicted.”

The letter is also signed by Morten Tyldum, director of “The Imitation Game” and Turing’s niece, Rachel Barnes.