Affleck: I Was 'Embarrassed' by Slave-Owning Ancestor

Says he's sorry, his story will add to discussion of slavery's legacy
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 22, 2015 6:13 AM CDT
Affleck: I Was 'Embarrassed' by Slave-Owning Ancestor
Actor Ben Affleck testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, March 26, 2015, before the Senate State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs subcommittee hearing on diplomacy, development and national security.   (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke)

Ben Affleck has had a change of heart since successfully asking PBS to omit mention of a slave-owning ancestor from an episode of Finding Your Roots. Affleck says he was "embarrassed" by the uncovered relative, NBC News reports. "I didn't want any television show about my family to include a guy who owned slaves," he writes on his Facebook page. "The very thought left a bad taste in my mouth." Affleck admits he "lobbied" host Henry Louis "Skip" Gates Jr. to avoid the topic as part of a "collaborative creative process. Skip agreed with me on the slave owner but made other choices I disagreed with." Even so, Affleck is still "proud to have participated."

The actor adds the show "isn't a news program... The assumption is that they will never be dishonest" but will "not look to include things you think would embarrass your family." Of course, the coverup was revealed by WikiLeaks, and the resulting brouhaha made Affleck "regret my initial thoughts that the issue of slavery not be included," he says. The country is "still grappling with the terrible legacy of slavery" and "I am glad that my story, however indirectly, will contribute to that discussion." PBS is conducting an internal investigation. "If the decision to drop the segment was based on Mr. Affleck's request, it was and is unacceptable," an executive at producer station WNET says. (Click to read about 25 more Affleck scandals, or watch Larry Wilmore mock his ancestry scandal.)

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