KUALA LUMPUR, March 20 — Tan Sri Mokhzani Mahathir has confirmed that he is no longer a business partner of UK actor Benedict Cumberbatch because of his father’s anti-Semitic remarks, The Star Online reported.
“Ben has decided that being associated with me is the same as being associated with my father indirectly, so that’s his prerogative.
“If he feels very strongly about whatever my father says and has concerns there could be repercussions because of that, that’s his prerogative,” the second child of Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad told the news portal.
Mokhzani was responding to a column in Daily Mail, a UK tabloid, that said yesterday Cumberbatch had severed business ties with him as the actor found Dr Mahathir’s statements “abhorrent and unacceptable.”
Mokhzani told The Star Online that the Daily Mail columnist had called Cumberbatch for his comments on Dr Mahathir’s remarks during an interview on BBC’s Hardtalk in October last year, when he had described Jews as “hook-nosed” and blamed them for the problems in the Middle East.
After learning of Dr Mahathir’s comments, he said Cumberbatch did not want to be associated with anyone who had been labelled anti-Semitic as he was concerned about the repercussions on SunnyMarch, a company where he, Cumberbatch and two others were partners.
He revealed that he turned down the actor’s request for him to issue a statement on the matter.
“I said the best thing to do is to resign,” said Mokhzani, who first met Cumberbatch when he visited Malaysia in 2014 as part of the Laureus World Sports Awards.
Daily Mail reported that Mokhzani had invested RM5.4 million in the company Cumberbatch had also set up in 2014.
Cumberbatch had told the tabloid he was “shocked and disappointed” to learn of Dr Mahathir’s statements, adding that his company’s dealings were only with Mokhzani.
“As a company, we have already begun the process of fully severing our relationship with Mr Mahathir so that he will no longer be involved with Sunny March,” he had said, referring to Mokhzani.
The actor plays Dr Stephen Strange in the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, Dr Strange, Thor: Ragnarok (2017) and Avengers: Infinity War (2018). He is also known for the TV series, Sherlock, in which he stars as the famous fictional detective.