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In a Facebook post Tuesday, the actor-director wrote that he was sorry for asking the Henry Louis Gates Jr.-hosted show to censor his slave-owning ancestor from his installment, which aired Oct. 14, 2014.
“I didn’t want any television show about my family to include a guy who owned slaves,” Affleck wrote. “I was embarrassed. The very thought left a bad taste in my mouth.”
Affleck pointed out that Finding Your Roots is not a news program, but is rather a show in which guests voluntarily reveal information about their families, which can make them “quite vulnerable.” He wrote that it is assumed that the show’s producers “will respect your willingness to participate and not look to include things you think would embarrass your family.”
“I regret my initial thoughts that the issue of slavery not be included in the story,” he continued, adding that this story makes it clear the nation is still dealing with its history of slavery. “While I don’t like that the guy is an ancestor, I am happy that aspect of our country’s history is being talked about.”
The news that Affleck asked the show to hide his ancestor came out through hacked Sony emails made public last week by WikiLeaks. The emails revealed that Gates reached out to Sony chief Michael Lynton for his take on Affleck’s request, with Lynton advising that Gates respect Affleck’s wishes.
PBS has launched an internal investigation into the scandal to “determine whether or not all of PBS’ editorial standards were observed,” the network said Tuesday in a statement.
Affleck’s Facebook post can be seen below.
April 22, 12:20 p.m. Updated with Affleck’s tweet explaining who his ancestor was.
Lots of people have been asking who the guy was. His name was Benjamin Cole – lived in Georgia on my Mom’s side about six generations back.
— Ben Affleck (@BenAffleck) April 22, 2015
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