Ben Affleck Breaks His Silence On His Slave-Owning Ancestor Controversy — Read His Post Explaining The Decision To Exclude Parts Of His Family Tree

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Last week, Wikileaks complied 173,000 emails from the Sony hacking, and shined some unfavorable light on Ben Affleck in regards to his appearance on the ancestry show Finding Your Roots.

An email exchange between a Sony executive and the show’s host Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (aka “Skip“) details that Affleck wanted to leave out a slave-owning relative of his from the PBS series.

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After becoming the topic of discussion, the Oscar-winner broke his silence this week on requesting a controversial branch of his family tree be left out of the program. The actor wrote on his Facebook:

After an exhaustive search of my ancestry for “Finding Your Roots,” it was discovered that one of my distant relatives…
Posted by Ben Affleck on Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Gone Girl star then followed up to further clarify that the slave owner ancestor was probably not going to be used in the program anyway due to a lack of information. The actor commented on the original post:

“To clarify, because I see this story being framed as “censorship” on some sites, when I told Skip I was uneasy about the slave owner, he told me he had not included it in his preliminary cut because there wasn’t much detail – a name and no details, so he wasn’t going with it to begin with. He also told me they would do a book later with a more complete story, and I said I would be happy to participate and talk about the issues more broadly.”

He makes a lot of really good points! The 42-year-old admits he was embarrassed to associate his family with slavery, but regrets his hesitation to include it in the program. Like he said, we can’t blame ourselves for things our ancestors did!

The network is still checking the facts, and PBS announced that they are now conducting an internal review to see if “all of PBS’ editorial standards were observed” in the Affleck episode of the show, ironically titled Roots of Freedom.

[Image via Brian To/WENN.]

Apr 22, 2015 10:44am PDT

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