• Ben Affleck Demanded PBS Hide his Slave-Owning Ancestry

    Ben Affleck doesn’t want you to know that he comes from slave-owning ancestry. The actor insisted producers of the PBS show “Finding Your Roots” censor the fact that one of his ancestors owned slaves, the Sony email hack has revealed.

    “One of our guests has asked us to edit out something about one of his ancestors—the fact that he owned slaves,” the show’s host, Henry Louis Gates Jr. wrote in an email to Sony USA chief Michael Lynton asking for advice. “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?”

    Lynton advised him to omit Affleck’s family secret from the show, as long as no one would find out.

    “On the doc the big question is who knows that the material is in the doc and is being taken out,” the Sony chairman and CEO writes.” I would take it out if no one knows, but if it gets out that you are editing the material based on this kind of sensitivity then it gets tricky.”

    Gates admitted in his email that hiding facts would be a violation of PBS rules.

    “As for the doc: all my producers would know; his PR agency the same as mine, and everyone there has been involved trying to resolve this; my agent at CAA knows, and PBS would know. To do this would be a violation of PS rules, actually, even for Batman.”

    Gates noted Affleck’s ancestor “wasn’t even a bad guy” and seemed perplexed by the actor’s request considering all the other celebrities who had no problem with discussing their slave-owning ancestors.

    “Now Anderson Cooper’s ancestor was a real s.o.b.; one of his slaves actually murdered him. Of course, the slave was promptly hanged. And Anderson didn’t miss a beat about that. Once we open the door to censorship, we lose control of the brand.”

    Affleck was filming “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” in Detroit around that time. “I’ve offered to fly to Detroit, where he is filming, to talk it through,” Gates wrote.

    The leaked emails exchange appear to be part of an estimated  30,000 Sony Pictures emails  stolen from the production company in a 2014 cyber attack against the company by a North Korea-affiliated group called Guardians of Peace.

    Producers of the episode, which aired last October, ultimately gave in to Affleck’s demand and made no mention of his slave-owning ancestor. The broadcast instead focused on Affleck’s mother who marched for civil rights in 1964 and his sixth great-grandfather who fought in the Revolutionary War and was just one of 2,000 soldiers who served under George Washington in some of the toughest times of the war.

    ‘That is really, really something. I love it,” Affleck said of his great grandpa. “I’m developing this movie about, um, the Revolutionary War-now, I see why I was drawn to it. These stories ‘make me feel more connected to the country…this is a big surprise and I’m really proud of it.”

    Alicia Powe

    Staff Writer

    Alicia Powe is a staff writer for Daily Surge. She worked in the War Room of the Rudy Giuliani Presidential Committee and served as a White House Intern during the George W. Bush administration. Alicia has written for numerous outlets, including Human Events, Media Research Center and Townhall.com.

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