“Ben Affleck has apologized for trying to block a PBS documentary from revealing that he had a slave-owning ancestor, admitting that he felt ‘embarrassed,’” reports Digital Spy.
Affleck made the apology Tuesday, April 21, 2015, on his Facebook page.
The Digital Spy story continues, “The revelation came about after the recent Sony emails were uncovered by WikiLeaks. These suggested that Affleck tried to persuade ‘Finding Your Roots’ producer [and host] Henry ‘Skip’ Gates Jr to censor certain aspects from his past.”
Says Variety, “According to the leaked emails, first published by WikiLeaks, Gates asked the chairman of Sony, Michael Lynton, whether or not he should remove a certain ‘megastar’s’ tie to slavery.
“’To do this would be a violation of PBS rules, actually, even for Batman,’ Gates wrote. ‘Once we open the door to censorship, we lose control of the brand.’
“The information about Affleck’s ancestors never aired.”
In his apology Affleck wrote, “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.”
Affleck also wrote, “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.”
PBS has said it is investigating the incident.
To read Affleck’s entire apology, please click here.