Ben Affleck Had Slave-Owning Ancestor and Had Information Removed From PBS Doc

Ben Affleck Had Slave-Owning Ancestor and Had Information Removed From PBS Doc

Ben Affleck Had Slave-Owning Ancestor and Had Information Removed From PBS Doc

Liberal celebrities generally welcome publicity when they stand atop their soapboxes to pontificate about every social injustice they find, but when publicity about them might be politically incorrect they want it shut down.

Enter actor Ben Affleck.

Ben Affleck ‘discovers’ his roots. Some of them, anyway.

Affleck had been featured on the PBS program Finding Your Rootswhich is hosted by Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates. The program highlights various celebrities and traces their ancestry.


Affleck’s dilemma:  during the search through his ancestry it was discovered that he had a forebear who was a slave holder.

Oh the horror! Affleck could not possibly be shown to be a descendent of such a despicable man, so he pressured the producers of Finding Your Roots to edit out those details, despite this action being a breach of PBS editorial rules. PBS uses this statement, in part, about the content of their programming:

‘The Public Broadcasting Service is committed to serving the public interest by providing content of the highest quality that enriches the marketplace of ideas, unencumbered by commercial imperative. . . . .

Editorial integrity: PBS content should embrace the highest commitment to excellence, professionalism, intellectual honesty and transparency. . . .

Unless, of course, your subject of your programming is Ben Affleck. Then what your viewers find out about Mr. Affleck’s ancestry is that his third grandfather was a practicing mystic who comforted families of the Civil War dead, and that his sixth grandfather fought in the Revolutionary War on the patriot side.

Hacked and leaked Sony emails between Gates and Sony executive Michael Lynton reveal how they planned to remove the offending material from the program.


By the way, I need your advice: I’m on a flight to L.A. for the TCA Press Tour. We launch season two of Finding Your Roots tomorrow at noon, and four celebrities, including Nas, are showing up. 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. 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?


On the doc the big question is who knows that the material is in the doc and is being taken out. I would take it out if no one knows, but if it gets out that you are editing the material based on this kind of sensitivity then it gets tricky. Again, all things being equal I would definitely take it out.

Actor Nick Searcy of Justified ripped into Affleck’s self-righteous political correctness.

And this.

Other celebrity subjects of Finding Your Roots had similar slave-holding ancestors. In addition to Ken Burns, who was mentioned above in the emails, CNN host Anderson Cooper discovered that not only did he have an ancestor who held slaves, but that one of those slaves killed him with a hoe.

Anderson Cooper reading some uncomfortable news about a slave-holding ancestor.

But when you’re a politically correct megastar like Affleck then you can call the shots and show the audience whitewashed pablum like this.

Ben Affleck has found himself embroiled in a mini-scandal, and there’s a certain amount of schadenfreude in finding that this pompous actor’s duplicity has been uncovered. But does it really matter? Well, yes. Consider that your tax money is used to fund PBS — the Public Broadcasting Service — and it should anger you to know that its editorial integrity is not as billed.

Written by

Kim is a pint-sized patriot who packs some big contradictions. She is a Baby Boomer who never became a hippie, an active Republican who first registered as a Democrat (okay, it was to help a sorority sister's father in his run for sheriff), and a devout Lutheran who practices yoga. Growing up in small-town Indiana, now living in the Kansas City metro, Kim is a conservative Midwestern gal whose heart is also in the Seattle area, where her eldest daughter, son-in-law, and grandson live. Kim is a working speech pathologist who left school system employment behind to subcontract to an agency, and has never looked back. She describes her conservatism as falling in the mold of Russell Kirk's Ten Conservative Principles. Don't know what they are? Google them!

  • Penny says:

    Who the hell cares?!?!? My Scottish ancestors both came to America as prisoners of war, between Scotland & English during Oliver Cromwell’s time. They had to fullfil an indensured servanthood before they could be free in The American colonies. One started in Barbados, the other in Maryland. They, after the one in Barbados gained his freedom and came north, took their mules and 120 acres from their “military service” and rose to great power in Maryland. One donated land to churches, and an even bigger donation of land to what became the District of Columbia. Yes, both were slave owners…..however, I’ve never owned anybody, in, fact, some of my ancestors fought on the Union side.

    Slavery happened….it has been outlawed for over 100 years. I watched Reba & Paula get all sad faced and apologetic…what the hell, they’re Southerners, for Pete’s sake!! Get over it!! This insanity about ancestors owning slaves is just downright infantile, and childishly pitiful!!

    • Kim Quade says:

      Yeah, Penny, I gotcha. My mother’s parents were both German immigrants who arrived here prior to WWI, but only one of my grandmother’s siblings ever emigrated to the US with her. As a result, my mother had two uncles who fought for the Wehrmacht, and a cousin who was a member of the Hitler Youth. At the end of WWII he was one of those teenage boys who was forced to fight the Russians. It was no embarrassment to my parents; my father spoke with this cousin in Germany shortly before the cousin passed away a few months ago.
      Talk about politically incorrect family connections, huh??

  • Dana says:

    Since we are all (supposedly) at least twentieth cousins, we are all related to people who were slave owners, and people who were slaves.

  • Deserttrek says:

    what a bunch of left wing ignorance .. the far left puppets at pbs will smear a conservative and religion but will bow to some actor? i stopped giving money outside of my taxes long ago because of the left wing slant and am proven correct constantly.

  • OC says:

    “CNN host Anderson Cooper discovered that not only did he have an ancestor who held slaves, but that one of those slaves killed him with a hoe.”

    Huh? What did she do, screw him to death?
    Oh, never mind.


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