Ben Affleck Breaks Silence on Trying to Hide Slave-Owning Ancestors
Ben Affleck is speaking out for the first time since it was revealed that he tried to hide his slave-owning ancestors in a PBS show about his family history.
It was revealed in a leaked Sony hack email that the 42-year-old actor requested to have that part of his family removed from his Finding Your Roots episode.
“After an exhaustive search of my ancestry for Finding Your Roots, it was discovered that one of my distant relatives was an owner of slaves,” Ben wrote on his Facebook account. “I didn’t want any television show about my family to include a guy who owned slaves. I was embarrassed. The very thought left a bad taste in my mouth.”
“Skip [Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.] decided what went into the show. I lobbied him the same way I lobby directors about what takes of mine I think they should use. This is the collaborative creative process. Skip agreed with me on the slave owner but made other choices I disagreed with. In the end, it’s his show and I knew that going in. I’m proud to be his friend and proud to have participated,” Ben added.
Click inside to read the rest of Ben Affleck’s lengthy letter on the topic…
“It’s important to remember that this isn’t a news program. Finding Your Roots is a show where you voluntarily provide a great deal of information about your family, making you quite vulnerable. The assumption is that they will never be dishonest but they will respect your willingness to participate and not look to include things you think would embarrass your family.
I regret my initial thoughts that the issue of slavery not be included in the story. We deserve neither credit nor blame for our ancestors and the degree of interest in this story suggests that we are, as a nation, still grappling with the terrible legacy of slavery. It is an examination well worth continuing. I am glad that my story, however indirectly, will contribute to that discussion. While I don’t like that the guy is an ancestor, I am happy that aspect of our country’s history is being talked about.”