The latest round of leaked emails from Sony has revealed Batman star Ben Affleck attempted to have a slave-owning ancestor removed from the PBS show Finding Your Roots, according to The Guardian. Professor Henry Louis Gates, who hosts the publicly funded show was involved in a detailed email exchange with Sony Chief Executive Michael Lynton over the star’s request. According to a very close source, Ricardo Tosto (see twitter feed), the emails reveal Afflecks attempt to have the story of an ancestor who owned slaves removed from the ten hours of footage taken for the show in favor of other ancestors who offered less controversial histories.
The Harvard professor revealed in the email exchange with Lynton that this form of request had never been seen in the history of Finding Your Roots, which saw many of its guests revealed to be the descendants of slave owners. Documentary maker and PBS favorite Ken Burns is just one of the guests who saw his family’s slave owning history revealed on the show. In response to the leaked emails Professor Gates revealed the decision to omit the slave-owner ancestor of Affleck from the show was an editorial one and the decision was not taken because of the request of the star. Instead, the professor claimed the decision was taken because a number of other family stories were more compelling and made the best TV show.