PETALING JAYA: Tan Sri Mokhzani Mahathir (pic)has confirmed that Hollywood actor Benedict Cumberbatch has severed business ties with him, because of his father's anti-Semitic remarks.
Mokhzani, who is the second son of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, said that it was Cumberbatch's prerogative to do so.
“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," he told The Star Online on Wednesday (March 20).
In a column for the British tabloid Daily Mail, it was reported that Mokhzani was a director of SunnyMarch Holdings, which Cumberbatch set up in 2014.
Mokhzani was said to have invested £1mil (RM5.4mil), in return for shares via his company, Kencana Capital.
Mokhzani confirmed that he invested the money in a company where he, Cumberbatch and two others were partners.
The company is involved in movies and television programmes.
Mokhzani said he met Cumberbatch when he came to Malaysia in 2014, as part of the Laureas Awards before the English actor was his guest at the Formula One race here.
"After that, we kept in touch and he invited me to invest in his movie start-up company," he said.
Cumberbatch is best-known for starring as Sherlock Holmes in a miniseries and for portraying the character of Dr Stephen Strange in the movies Dr Strange, Thor: Ragnarok (2017) and Avengers: Infinity War (2018).
Mokhzani said the Daily Mail columnist had called Cumberbatch a few days ago to get his comments on Dr Mahathir's comments in an interview on BBC Hardtalk in October last year.
"The Hardtalk interviewer had referred to comments my father had made many, many years ago regarding that hooked nose, so that is taken as anti-Semitic," he said.
He added that Cumberbatch did not want to be associated with anyone who had been labelled as such, as he was worried that there could be repercussions for Sunny March productions.
Mokhzani said Cumberbatch had asked him to make a statement, which he declined.
"I said the best thing to do is to resign," he said, adding that they were working towards the severing of their business ties.
He said that he will work towards trying to recoup his investment in the company.
"I was shocked and disappointed to learn today of statements made by Dr Mahathir Mohamad, articulating views that I find abhorrent and unacceptable.
‘Our company has never had dealings with Dr Mohamad (sic) - rather, our relationship has always been with his son Mokhzani Mahathir.
‘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," Cumberbatch was quoted as saying in the column by Sebastian Shakespeare, the tabloid's diary editor.
In an interview on BBC’s Hard Talk in Oct last year, Dr Mahathir had described Jews as “hook-nosed” and blamed them for creating the troubles in the Middle East.
Dr Mahathir had also called Israelis “special” and challenged historical accounts that six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust, arguing that the figure was four million.