Ben Affleck Will Talk About That Slave Business Now

Ben Affleck found himself in some shit over the weekend when a new dump of hacked Sony emails revealed he asked Henry Louis Gates Jr. to censor information about an ancestor owning slaves on Finding Your Roots. A request that Gates seemed to comply with after emailing Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton who advised bending over for Batfleck. However, Gates and PBS both issued statements claiming they made the decision “independently” which Ben Affleck just blew up by releasing an official statement on Facebook claiming the entire production was a “collaboration.” He also took the time to pat himself on the back for “contributing to the discussion” about race relations because this whole thing has always been about his ego. The issue never was about his ancestors owning slaves because almost everyone universally understands that if you’re white, it’s a pretty good chance somebody in your past owned a black person. There’s nothing anyone can do about it. Except actor/writer/director Ben Affleck is a special unicorn and made PBS take his celebrity cock up its ass because the thought of people finding out his family’s past is, well, just like everybody else’s is “embarrassing.” So here’s his apology for asking PBS to edit out his slave-owning ancestor which you’ll notice happens right after he throws them under the bus for doing exactly what he wanted. Why would they do that?

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.

I didn’t want any television show about my family to include a guy who owned slaves. I was embarrassed. The very thought left a bad taste in my mouth.

Skip decided what went into the show. I lobbied him the same way I lobby directors about what takes of mine I think they should use. This is the collaborative creative process. Skip agreed with me on the slave owner but made other choices I disagreed with. In the end, it’s his show and I knew that going in. I’m proud to be his friend and proud to have participated.

It’s important to remember that this isn’t a news program. 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.

I regret my initial thoughts that the issue of slavery not be included in the story. 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. 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 being talked about.

Ben Affleck

Photo: Getty