Hometown boy and Hollywood A-lister Ben Affleck tried to persuade people behind a PBS television show to omit the fact that one of his ancestors was a slaveowner, according to an email exchange released by WikiLeaks.
The exchange, between Harvard professor Henry Gates Louis Jr. and Michael Lynton, the CEO of Sony Entertainment Inc., indicated that Affleck – referred to as “Batman” in the hacked emails – did not want his slaveholding ancestry highlighted in the PBS program “Finding Your Roots,” a show hosted and produced by Gates. Affleck is slated to star in the upcoming film Batman v Superman.
In the emails, Gates appears to bristle at such a request.
“Once we open the door to censorship, we lose control of the brand,” he wrote last July.
However, that part of Affleck’s ancestry never aired as part of the program.
Gates released a statement on Friday, reports The Guardian, stating “Ultimately, I maintain editorial control of 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 – including a Revolutionary War ancestor, a third great-grandfather who was an occult enthusiast and his mother who marched for civil rights during the Freedom Summer of 1964.”