In a Facebook post yesterday Ben Affleck addressed the revelation leaked in a Sony e-mail that he barred producers of the PBS show Finding Your Roots from discussing his slave owning relative in the show.
“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,” he wrote. “I didn’t want any television show about my family to include a guy who owned slaves. I was embarrassed. The very thought of it left a bad taste in my mouth.”
Affleck says that all he did was suggest to the producer they not include the slave owning ancestor and did not demand it. Uh huh. Meanwhile, PBS is investigating whether their editorial standards were violated by the action of Affleck and the producers. To that Affleck said,
“It’s important to remember that this isn’t a news program,” he wrote. “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. 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,” he wrote. “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 begin talked about.”