BOSTON (CBS/AP) — Ben Affleck says he regrets his actions after leaked emails show that he asked a PBS program not to reveal that he had a slave-owning ancestor.
The actor and director participated in the documentary series “Finding Your Roots,” which examines the family history of well-known guests. Emails published online by whistleblower site WikiLeaks reveal Affleck requested that the show not include his slave-owning ancestor, and the information never appeared on the program.READ MORE: Let It Snow! Winter Arrives On New Hampshire's Kancamagus Highway
Affleck took to Facebook on Tuesday to say he regrets making that request.
“I didn’t want any television show about my family to include a guy who owned slaves. I was embarrassed,” Affleck wrote. “The very thought left a bad taste in my mouth.”
In the email exchange between Harvard University professor and host Henry Louis Gates, and Sony Pictures executive Michael Lynton, Gates asks Lynton for advice on how to handle Affleck’s request.READ MORE: Critically Endangered Right Whale Population Drops To An Estimated 336; Lowest In 20 Years
“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 on July 22, 2014.
Despite his initial request, Affleck said he’s now glad his story is contributing to a discussion of America’s history with slavery.
“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,” Affleck said. “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.”MORE NEWS: Moderna Says Its COVID-19 Vaccine For Kids 6-11 Has 'Strong Immune Response'
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