Photo Credit: PBS
Ben Affleck might have something to hide...
According to reports from a hacked Sony email, Ben Affleck requested that PBS edit out some personal information during the October episode of Finding Your Roots in which the Good Will Hunting actor was featured.
Although Affleck was happy to shed some light on his Freedom Rider mother, Revolutionary War ancestor and his third great-grandfather, the celebrity was less willing to reveal the truth behind a slave-owning relative and in turn, requested that the findings be edited out of the program.
WikiLeaks posted the hacked Sony emails last Thursday, revealing that Finding Your Roots host Henry Louis Gates Jr., had emailed Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton in July 2014 writing, "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."
Lynton replied, "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. Again, all things being equal I would definitely take it out."
Gates refuted, suggesting that the removal of the information would be "a violation of PBS rules, actually even for Batman."
In order to ease the situation, Gates even recounted that other guests including Anderson Cooper had been descendants of slave owners. But ultimately the information about Affleck's slave owning relatives did not make it into the episode.
Since the hype, Gates and PBS released statements in regard to the emails and the episode.
"Ultimately, I maintain editorial control on all of my projects and, with my producers, decide what will make for the most compelling program," explained Gates. "In the case of Mr. Affleck – we focused on what we felt were the most interesting aspects of his ancestry."
PBS also released a statement, "We vehemently disagree with WikiLeaks’ assertion that this material belongs in the public domain and will continue to fight for the safety, security, and privacy of our company and its more than 6,000 employees."
Affleck has not responded to the reports of his request for ancestry censorship.