'Embarrassed' Ben Affleck apologizes for trying to cover up slave owner roots

Ben Affleck is the latest victim of the Sony email hacks, revealing the actor helped shut down a segment on PBS' Finding Your Roots when it was revealed he a had a slave-owning ancestor. Shortly after the information became public, the Batman star took to Facebook confirming the allegations and apologizing.

Ben Affleck apologized for trying to cover up his family's roots Photo: Getty Images

"I didn't want any television show about my family to include a guy who owned slaves," Ben wrote. "I was embarrassed. The very thought left a bad taste in my mouth."

The 42-year-old star added, "It's important to remember that this isn't a news program. Finding Your Roots is a show where you voluntarily provide a great deal of information about your family, making you quite vulnerable."


After an exhaustive search of my ancestry for "Finding Your Roots," it was discovered that one of my distant relatives...

Posted by Ben Affleck on Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The leaked email exchange is between Finding Your Roots host Henry Louis Gates and Sony chief executive Michael Lynton, in which Henry asks for advice from the head honcho about Ben's request to omit the episode.

"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," Henry's leaked email stated. "Now, four or five of our guests this season descend from slave owners, including Ken Burns. We've never had anyone ever try to censor or edit what we found. He's a megastar. What do we do?"

It was Finding Your Roots host Henry Louis Gates' leaked emails that sparked the controversy Photo: Getty Images

The segment was supposed to air in October, but never made its way on TV. Henry defended that decision, saying he chose to instead focus on Affleck's Revolutionary War ancestor and a 3rd great-grandfather who was an occult enthusiast.

Ben says he now regrets having requested the segment be removed. "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," he wrote.

After there were several comments made on his post, he responded again. "Thanks for the comments here. To clarify, because I see this story being framed as 'censorship' on some sites, when I told Skip I was uneasy about the slave owner, he told me he had not included it in his preliminary cut because there wasn't much detail — a name and no details, so he wasn't going with it to begin with," Ben wrote. "He also told me they would do a book later with a more complete story, and I said I would be happy to participate and talk about the issues more broadly."

Angelina Jolie was a victim of the Sony hacks as well Photo: Getty Images

The Academy Award winner wasn't the only star affected by the leaks. Angelina Jolie,Princess Beatrice and Leonardo DiCaprio were other boldfaced names whose information was made public.

WikiLeaks made thousands of emails and documents associated with last year's Sony hack searchable on its website on April 16.

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