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Home » World » Finding Your Roots Suspended After Ben Affleck Had His Slave Ancestors Cut From Show (Video)
Finding Your Roots Suspended After Ben Affleck Had His Slave Ancestors Cut From Show (Video)
Finding Your Roots Suspended After Ben Affleck Had His Slave Ancestors Cut From Show (Video)

Finding Your Roots Suspended After Ben Affleck Had His Slave Ancestors Cut From Show (Video)

PBS has suspended genealogy show “Finding Your Roots” after an investigation determined that Ben Affleck was able to unduly influence decisions about the show’s content; specifically, when the program complied with Affleck’s request not to include details about his slave-owning great-great-great grandfather in an episode last October.

In a statement released earlier this week, the two investigating bodies said: “PBS and WNET have determined that the series co-producers violated PBS standards by failing to shield the creative and editorial process from improper influence, and by failing to inform PBS or WNET of Mr. Affleck’s efforts to affect program content.”

Measure have now been put in place to ensure that the standards are not breached again, including putting the third season of the show on hold, hiring a new fact-checker and employing an independent genealogist to review all versions of program episodes for factual accuracy.

A fourth season of Finding Your Roots has been suspended until the high editorial standards have been met and PBS has its “confidence” restored in the programme.

Finding Your Roots looks at the genealogy and family trees of celebrities in the US and during Ben’s episode of the show historians stumbled across one relative who had kept slaves.

Back in April hacked emails from Sony revealed private exchanges between Finding Your Roots host Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton which referenced requests from Ben to omit slave ownership from episode of the series.

After the emails emerged, the star posted a statement on Facebook in which he said: “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 [Professor Gates] 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.”

At the time Professor Gates defended the episode saying that: “Ultimately, I maintain editorial control on all of my projects and, with my producers, decide what will make for the most compelling program. In the case of Mr. Affleck – we focused on what we felt were the most interesting aspects of his ancestry.”

Since then he released a statement on Wednesday thanking PBS for their report into the episode and apologising for “putting PBS and its member stations in the position of having to defend the integrity of their programming.”

The controversial episode of the show has now been withdrawn from DVDs and online streaming.


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    1. What a shock!!! NOT! Any famous conservative would have been treated as if they themselves owned slaves. PBS, where your tax dollars go to spread the liberal kool-aid.

    2. I agree with Burke. If this had been a conservative, Gates would have had the story all over the internet and news. Funny how Affleck found the truth inconvenient and therefore had his buddy in crime “whitewash” the facts. This should be proof to all that Gates has no ethics.

    3. Andre Kristopans

      This is where judging yesterday by today’s standards gets problematic. If I had ancestors multiple generations back that did things that are reprehensible today, but weren’t then, why get worked up about it? Sanitizing facts to avoid upsetting today’s sensibilities is never a good idea. It would be like refusing to acknowledge the fact that at one time people honestly thought the earth was flat and the sun revolved around the earth. We all know better now, but should we hide this historical reality just because we know it to be in error?

    4. Dude, you are white…in America….why is slave ownership shocking at this point. He should’ve shrugged, said “that’s reprehensible” and moved on. It says something that he tried to conceal something that is unfortunately a big part of the fabric of this country

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