PBS Series Suspended After It Censored Ben Affleck’s Slave-Owning Heritage

Kaitlan Collins Contributor
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The PBS series “Find Your Roots” has been suspended after producers censored Ben Affleck’s slave-owning ancestry.

The network announced on Wednesday it was postponing the third season of the genealogy series until they made “staffing changes,” including hiring a fact-checker, and cited Affleck’s “improper influence” on the show as the reason why.

While filming the show in 2014, Affleck learned that his great-great-great grandfather — a sheriff in Georgia in the 1860s — owned seven slaves. Affleck pressured producers to cut that from airing because he was “embarrassed” by it, and after deliberating, they did.

When it aired in October, there was no mention of the actor’s slave-owning heritage.

PBS suspended Find Your Roots

(Photo: Getty Images)

The public only found out because WikiLeaks logged all of the emails from the Sony hack in November, including one between the “Find Your Roots” executive producer Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and a Sony boss. (RELATED: Sony Executives Mock Obama In Leaked Emails: ‘Should I Ask Him If He Liked DJANGO?’)

“We’ve never had anyone ever try to censor or edit what we found,” Gates said in the email. “He’s a megastar. What do we do?”

Gates apologized when news of the suspension broke.

“I sincerely regret not discussing my editing rationale with our partners at PBS and WNET,” Gates wrote in a statement. “And I apologize for putting PBS and its member stations in the position of having to defend the integrity of their programming.”