Alan Cumming Distances British Honor Awarded by Queen Elizabeth Over 'Toxicity of Empire'

by Emell Adolphus

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Friday January 27, 2023

Alan Cumming in a promotional photo for "The Traitors" on Peacock.
Alan Cumming in a promotional photo for "The Traitors" on Peacock.  (Source:Peacock)

Scottish actor Alan Cumming is over his OBE honor. Awarded to him by Queen Elizabeth II for his work as an actor and advocacy for LGBTQ+ rights, Cumming said he is no longer an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire after returning the honor over the British crown's toxicity, People reported.

"I returned my OBE," Cumming wrote, explaining that it was something he did to mark his 58th birthday.

"The Queen's death and the ensuing conversations about the role of monarchy and especially the way the British Empire profited at the expense (and death) of indigenous peoples across the world really opened my eyes," wrote Cumming in an Instagram post. "Also, thankfully, times and laws in the US have changed, and the great good the award brought to the LGBTQ+ cause back in 2009 is now less potent than the misgivings I have being associated with the toxicity of empire (OBE stands for Officer of the British Empire)."

Cumming described his actions as "something I recently did for myself."

He continued, "So I returned my award, explained my reasons and reiterated my great gratitude for being given it in the first place. I'm now back to being plain old Alan Cumming again. Happy birthday to me!"

Happy birthday, indeed!

As reported by People, Cumming received his honor from Princess Anne at Buckingham Palace during an investiture ceremony.

But believe it or not, Cumming is not the first person to give back an award from the British royal family. People on that distinguished list include David Bowie (who turned down two awards: a Commander of the British Empire in 2000 and a knighthood in 2003), film director Danny Boyle (rejecting the knighthood in 2013) and "The Chronicles of Narnia" author C.S. Lewis (who declined a CBE in 1952).

Cumming recently hosted the American version of "The Traitors" on Peacock where he cunningly hosted a murder game played in a Scottish Castle.

Watch the trailer: