Benedict Cumberbatch kicked off Saturday Night Live with a hardcore pro-abortion cold open on Saturday, the opening weekend for Disney’s newest Marvel superhero blockbuster Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
The skit depicted a Medieval tribunal in which Cumberbatch and cast members Andrew Dismukes, James Austin Johnson, Kate McKinnon, Chris Redd, and Cecily Strong plan new laws.
Cumberbatch asked if the group had thought about banning abortion, saying, “It’s just while I was cleaning the hole on the side of the castle where we poop and then it falls through the sky into a moat of human feces, I started to think about abortion. Don’t you think we ought to make a law against that?”
“You mean like the law we have against pointy shoes?” Dismukes replied. “Exactly. Something fair and reasonable like those laws,” Cumberbatch exclaimed.
After Strong chimed in asking, “Shouldn’t women have the right to choose,” Dismukes added, “Shouldn’t we at least make exceptions in cases of rape or incest?”
Injecting more current politics as Medieval-era humor into the bit, Strong then asked if instead of worrying about abortion, maybe they should address the fact that most people in town can’t read or write and that so many are dying from a plague.
Dismukes replied to that saying, “Oh, you think just ’cause I have active plague, I need to wear a mask? It’s my body, my choice.”
McKinnon wrapped up the bit moralizing, “Worry not, dear girl. These barbaric laws will someday be overturned by something called progress. And then, after about 50 years after the progress, they’ll be like, ‘Maybe we should undo the progress.’ I don’t know why my visions from that time are very confusing. Seems like all of the power comes from a place called Florida. And if you think our customs are weird, you should watch the trial of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard.”
McKinnon closed the bit saying, “No matter how many choices they take away from women, we always have a choice to keep fighting.”
Cumberbatch also appeared onstage in a shirt merely reading “1973” — a reference to the year Roe v. Wade was first decided — for the show’s outro.
Benedict Cumberbatch, Arcade Fire and the cast of #SNL closed out the show in shirts with the year 1973 on them, which is the year Roe v. Wade passed https://t.co/DucxfxguCd pic.twitter.com/pT7KxcYhEe
— The Hollywood Reporter (@THR) May 8, 2022
The Doctor Strange star’s partisan meddling in American politics — despite being a British citizen — is a dangerous move for Disney, already damaged by its recent attacks on an anti-grooming public education bill in Florida (the new Marvel film keeps up that drumbeat, touting a queer 14-year-old character searching for her lesbian mothers as a major plot point).
This week, a memo from Zeno Group, a high-profile PR firm for major corporations like Coca-Cola and Starbucks, warned its clients not to publicly react to the leak of a draft Supreme Court opinion which would overturn Roe.
“Subjects that divide the country can sometimes be no-win situations for companies because regardless of what they do they will alienate at least 15 to 30 percent of their stakeholders,” the document reads. “Do not assume that all of your employees, customers or investors share your view.”
Disney does not appear to be following this cautious strategy, based on this week’s SNL.
Cumberbatch personally claims to be a Buddhist, and abortion is generally opposed in Buddhism.
The actor has called his religious faith an “essential part” of his craft. It is hard to tell how strictly he adheres to the religion.
According to the BBC: “Buddhists believe that life should not be destroyed, but they regard causing death as morally wrong only if the death is caused deliberately or by negligence. Traditional Buddhism rejects abortion because it involves the deliberate destroying of a life.”