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Ben Affleck Explains He Was “Embarrassed” by Slave Owner Ancestor

It recently went public that Ben's ancestor had 8 slaves and the actor initially tried to have the story stopped.

A n email leaked from Sony that showed Ben asking the host of ‘Finding Your Roots’ not to include his slave owner ancestor. Ben had contacted the show’s host Henry Louis Gates, Jr.(often called Skip) and asked him to omit the findings that were to appear on the show. Now that the news has gone public, Ben has addressed why he took action, revealing that he felt “embarrassed”. He said:

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

Ben admits that he had to reach out to Skip and asked him to take the findings out of the show. Athough Skip agreed with him, he did include some findings that Ben wasn’t happy with:

“Skip decided what went into the show. I lobbied him the same way I lobby directors about what takes of mine I think they should use. This is the collaborative creative process. Skip agreed with me on the slave owner but made other choices I disagreed with. 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.”

Ben says he now regrets what he thought and believes people need to understand their history, and realise that slavery was a reality that people need to discuss:

“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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