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article imageBen Affleck hid ancestry, appologizes on Facebook

By Russ Teed     Apr 22, 2015 in Entertainment
A trailer for "Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice" starring Ben Affleck was just released. But the actor's appearance on the PBS show "Finding Your Roots" is also turning heads. Leaked emails suggest that Affleck asked the show to censor one finding.
Harvard scholar and the host of the show, Henry Louis Gates, revealed the ancestry of famous people and the results can be eyebrow-raising. Famed actor and liberal activist Ben Affleck was shocked when he learned that one of his ancestors was a slave-owner 160 years ago.
Whistleblower website WikiLeaks released the telling emails that were hacked from Sony in September 2014. The emails suggest the Oscar-winning actor wanted this information redacted from the footage.
The Daily Mail was first to release the exchange of emails between show host Gates and Sony Pictures co-chair Michael Lynton. According to their report, Gates asked Lynton how to handle the unusual censorship request — which is against PBS protocol. Gates wrote, "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. We've never had anyone ever try to censor or edit what we found. He's a megastar, what do we do?"
Lynton replied, "It is tricky because it may get out that you made the change and it comes down to editorial integrity."
Screengrab from 1st trailer for  Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Screengrab from 1st trailer for "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice."
Affleck's name was never mentioned in the email exchanges, but they did refer to him as a "Megastar" and "Batman." Affleck was filming the movie Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice at the time the show aired back in October of 2014. The movie is due to debut March 25, 2016.
PBS claimed they had no knowledge of the leaked emails. However, they posted a message on their website addressing the issue, "It is clear from the exchange how seriously Professor Gates takes editorial integrity."
They said the removal of the slave-owner portion of the show was because they had more interesting story lines. Ben's mother marched in the Freedom Summer civil rights movement in 1964. An older ancestor fought in the Revolutionary War in the eighteenth-century.
Mr. Affleck has made a public apology for the cover up. He wrote on his Facebook page, "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...
I regret my initial thoughts that the issue of slavery not be included in the story. 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. It is an examination well worth continuing. I am glad that my story, however indirectly, will contribute to that discussion. 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."
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