It's easy to see Benedict Cumberbatch fans are passionate about the actor. Some would argue that some of them are overly passionate. Cumberbatch recently discussed his decision to stay off of social media during a press event for Marvel's Doctor Strange and spoke of how internet discussions about him could be distracting.
If you're not tuned into fandom, you might not know some Cumberbatch fans lovingly refer to themselves as “Cumberbitches.” Not all ascribe to it of course, and even Cumberbatch has discussed the term himself saying it was “setting feminism back a bit.” But he's one of those actors who seems to attract extra attention (like Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelsen, or Chris Evans and Sebastian Stan). Co-star Keira Knightley called them “terrifying” at one point but then corrected herself, “I mean, they're lovely. I feel terrified saying they're terrifying cause they might come after me.”
I think fandom gets a bad rap a lot of the time, especially as it pertains to young women, their sexuality, and their creative talent. Most people don't understand it and simply label them as “weird.” I may not always get it either, but as long as it's not hurting anyone, I don't see a reason to make a thing out of it. A fandom that's positive and not causing harm is the fandom I am proud to be a part of.
On the topic of Cumberbatch fans, /Film was on a Doctor Strange set visit this year and spoke with the actor about how his fans have been putting him forth for the Doctor Strange role for many years. He said he was “flattered that people thought I was a good fit, and maybe that resonated with the guys upstairs” but he also diverged a bit into why he doesn't spend much time online.
“I think it goes two ways. I think you can just throw yourself at the internet”s mercy and be part of social media and get into a room with people who wanna f–k you, kill you, maybe some both at the same time or you just take a little step back and do your own thing in your own world,” he told them. “And then stuff leaks through and you”re like, 'Oh, that”s interesting, that”s terrific, that”s libelous, but what can I do?' You let things run in order to have some sanity and be able to do your work and not feel pre-judged. That”s not even a word, but you know what I mean. I think of people have an opinion about it so I guess I”m saying is that I was probably too scared to look into the fans thriving on it.”
Some may say fame comes with a price, but things like personal safety shouldn't be part of that. It's a shame Cumberbatch feels helpless when it comes to the types of things he would be exposed to if he were to be active online. I'm grateful so many actors and creators are willing to put themselves out on a platform like Twitter because it can be a lot of fun for fans, but the access there is way too easy to take advantage of. It's why I think it's a bit strange when TV hosts decide to show actors slashfic (relationships between fictional characters of the same sex) of themselves. As long as they're warned beforehand and agree to it, it's fine, but many have been ambushed by it in the past and that's not remotely ok.
I'm sure Cumberbatch fans would love for him to interact with them on social media on occasion (he has a lot of fun with them at events), but that's not a reality he's comfortable with for good reason.