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Ben Affleck, Finding Your Roots


Following Wikileaks' announcement yesterday that they were archiving more than 173,000 emails from the Sony hacking, Ben Affleck has come under fire for his appearance on PBS' Finding Your Roots.

An email exchange between the show's host, Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and a top executive at Sony outlines a discussion about what to include during Affleck's episode, and what to leave out entirely.

But Gates is speaking out regarding the swirling speculation, defending his right to leave out the show's discovery that some of Affleck's ancestors may have been slaveowners.

"The mission of Finding Your Roots is to find and share interesting stories from our celebrity guests' ancestries and use those stories to unlock new ways to learn about our past. We are very grateful to all of our guests for allowing us into their personal lives and have told hundreds of stories in this series including many about slave ancestors—never shying away from chapters of a family's past that might be unpleasant."

He concluded, "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—including a Revolutionary War ancestor, a 3rd great–grandfather who was an occult enthusiast, and his mother who marched for Civil Rights during the Freedom Summer of 1964."

PBS released their own statement regarding the episode, saying, "It is clear from the exchange how seriously Professor Gates takes editorial integrity. He has told us that after reviewing approximately ten hours of footage for the episode, he and his producers made an independent editorial judgment to choose the most compelling narrative. The range and depth of the stories on Finding Your Roots speak for themselves."