ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON INSIDE EDITION
Is an acclaimed PBS TV show willing to censor a celebrity’s family history if the information proves to be embarrassing?
Actor Ben Affleck apparently got PBS producers to censor the fact that an ancestor owned slaves.
The View’s Whoopi Goldberg had no problem with it. She said, “I think you should be able to say, ‘You know what? This is my family and nobody in the family is comfortable with this right now.”
Sharon Osbourne said on The Talk, “He’s a magnificent man, but hey, your ancestor was a slave owner. Live with it.”
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Affleck appeared on Finding Your Roots hosted by famed Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. His successful attempt at squelching his family history was first exposed in a leaked email in which Gates wrote: “We’ve never had anyone ever try to censor or edit what we found. He’s a megastar. What do we do?”
Affleck stars in the upcoming Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and is one of Hollywood’s leading liberal activists.
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“To do this would be a violation of PBS rules, actually, even for Batman,” professor Gates admitted in the leaked email.
Professor Robert Thompson of Syracuse University told INSIDE EDITION, “To leave that out entirely, and especially to leave it out after it’s been requested to be left out, I think that is problematic. Is it a career-wrecking problem? I don’t know. But I think it is a problem.”
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When the show did air last October, no mention was made of Affleck’s slave-owning ancestor. Instead, he was told he had an ancestor who fought in the American Revolution.
Affleck has not commented on the uproar.
Professor Gates says in a statement: “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.”