Hollywood superstar Ben Affleck has publicly admitted that he asked Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., host of the PBS series Finding Your Roots, to not showcase his slave owning lineage in an episode that aired last October, called “Roots of Freedom.”
Affleck, who has remained silent on the issue thus far, made a statement earlier today on his social media page citing simple embarrassment as the reason for his request that the information be omitted from the show.
He also stands by the host’s decision to leave the ancestor in question out of the episode and focus on another person of significance instead. The actor stated, “In the end, it’s his show and I knew that going in. I’m proud to be his friend and proud to have participated.”
Affleck also pointed out that the show is not, in any sense, a news program and has no journalistic responsibilities to include and divulge everything to the public. He said, “The assumption is that they will never be dishonest but they will respect your willingness to participate and not look to include thing you think would embarrass your family.”
The entertainer showed regret in his statement, about the decision to ask for the omission in the first place. He noted that the public’s outrage by the omission showed him that it a subject worth discussing.
Professor Gates and PBS have previously defended their choice to not showcase the slave owning predecessor in Affleck’s family by stating that they simply chose to highlight a more interesting individual in his lineage.
PBS announced today that they have been conducting an internal review since April 18th to assure that all of PBS’ editorial standards were observed with regard to Affleck’s episode.