Climbing Family Trees: Ben Affleck wants to hide his ancestors

Climbing Family Trees

More great stories, poems, and helpful hints about genealogy and searching for your family's roots from the twin authors of "Climbing Family Trees: Whispers In The Leaves"

Monday, April 20, 2015

Ben Affleck wants to hide his ancestors

                                  AFFLECK: HIDE MY SLAVE-OWNER ANCESTOR

Actor Ben Affleck put the PBS documentary series “Finding Your Roots” in a tough spot when he begged for the show not to reveal he had a slave-owning ancestor, emails published b Wikileaks reveal. Affleck had asked the Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, the host of the show, to censor the information. 

“Here’s my dilemma: confidentially, for the first time, one of our guests has asked us to edit out something about one of his ancestors–the fact that he owned slaves. Now, four or five of our guests this season descend from slave owners, including Ken Burns. 

We’ve never had anyone ever try to censor or edit what we found. He’s a megastar. What do we do?” Gates wrote in an email to Sony chief executive Michael Lynton on July 22, 2014. PBS did not end up including the segment, however Gates said the reason was they found a more interesting ancestor, not censorship. PBS says it was unaware of the discussions between Gates and Sony

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