The information was leaked through the online published material on WikiLeaks
Actor Ben Affleck reportedly requested broadcaster PBS to exclude his slave-owning ancestors from the documentary series “Finding Your Roots”. The information was revealed through the recently leaked emails on WikiLeaks, alongside 30, 000 other emails involving Sony Entertainment.
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PBS runs a documentary series with the title of "Finding Your Roots" which uncovers the ancestry of celebrities invited on the show. The Oscar-winning director and actor also featured in an episode of the series back in October and there was no mention of the slave-owning past of his family.
The host of “Finding your Roots” Henry Louis Gates Jr. emailed Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton, seeking an advice in terms of the request. “For the first time, one of our guests has asked us to edit out something about one of his ancestor- the fact that he owned slaves” Gates wrote in the email dated July 22, 2014, according to report by the Guardian.
Gates responded that omitting any kind of information from the documentary will be the violation of PBS rules and the information can be taken out if no one else knows about it. Although Affleck name has not been directly mentioned but he was referred to as “Batman” in the email and Affleck was filming Batman vs. Superman at that time.
A statement was also released on the PBS website from Gates regarding the leaked emails and the episode about Ben Affleck.
“We are grateful for all of our guests for allowing us into their personal lives and have told hundreds of stories in the series including many about slave ancestors.”
“Ultimately, I maintain editorial control on all of my projects and with my producers, what will make for the most compelling programme. In the case of Mr. Affleck we focused on what we felt were the most interesting aspects of his ancestry – including a revolutionary war ancestor, a third great grandmother who was an occult enthusiast and his mother who marched for civil rights during the Freedom Summer of 1964.”
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Howerver, Affleck did not respond to the issue so far.