Saturday 22 October 2016

Ben Affleck asks producers to hide his slave-owning ancestors in ‘Finding your Roots’ documentary

Published 19/04/2015 | 13:40

Ben Affleck
Ben Affleck

Ben Affleck asked producers of a documentary which delved into his roots to conceal the fact that one of his ancestors was a slave-owner, emails published by WikiLeaks revealed.

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The Oscar-winning director demanded that producers of ‘Finding Your Roots’ omit any unfavourable details about his ancestors particularly one who owned slaves.

The information which was included in a new set of Sony emails leaked, revealed Affleck’s request to the host of the programme Henry Louis Gates, who is a Harvard professor and a scholar of African and African American history.

Despite the controversial request by Affleck, details of the slavery were omitted from the documentary which aired in September 2014.

WikiLeaks uploaded more than 30,000 messages involving Sony last summer but it is not known how the messages were required.

“We are very grateful to all of our guests for allowing us into their personal lives and have told hundreds of stories in this series including many about slave ancestors – never shying away from chapters of a family’s past that might be unpleasant,” show host Gates said in a statement on Friday.

“Ultimately, I maintain editorial control on all of my projects and, with my producers, decide what will make for the most compelling programme.

“In the case of Mr Affleck we focused on what we felt were the most interesting aspects of his ancestry – including a Revolutionary War ancestor, a third great–grandfather who was an occult enthusiast, and his mother who marched for civil rights during the Freedom Summer of 1964.”

The emails released found that following Affleck’s request, Louis Gates contacted the film company behind the actor’s blockbuster Batman vs Superman and Sony requested that Gates comply with his wishes.

Affleck is yet to address the damning leak.

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