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Actor Ben Affleck: 'Embarrassed' by Slave-owning Ancestor

  • Reuters

FILE - Actor Ben Affleck, founder of the Eastern Congo Initiative, listens to testimony during the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the Congo on Capitol Hill in Washington, Feb. 26, 2014.

FILE - Actor Ben Affleck, founder of the Eastern Congo Initiative, listens to testimony during the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the Congo on Capitol Hill in Washington, Feb. 26, 2014.

Actor Ben Affleck said Tuesday he regretted asking a PBS documentary show profiling his ancestors to exclude a relative who'd owned slaves, saying he was embarrassed by the revelation.

Affleck's ancestry was traced by Harvard scholar Henry Louis (Skip) Gates Jr. for an episode in the second season of "Finding Your Roots." In the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) series, well-known personalities can discover more about their family history.

"I didn't want any television show about my family to include a guy who owned slaves. I was embarrassed. The very thought left a bad taste in my mouth," Affleck said in a statement on his Facebook page.

"I regret my initial thoughts that the issue of slavery not be included in the story," he added.

Representatives for PBS and Gates did not respond to requests for comment.

The issue came to light after anti-secrecy website Wikileaks released a searchable database of more than 30,000 documents that were stolen by hacker from Sony Corp's Sony Pictures Entertainment in a massive cyber attack last year.

Affleck said in his statement that Gates had final say in what was included in the episode, which aired last October. He said he had "lobbied" Gates on what elements of his family history to use in the show.

The Oscar-winning actor-director added that he assumed the show "will respect your willingness to participate and not look to include things you think would embarrass your family."

"While I don't like that the guy is an ancestor, I am happy that aspect of our country's history is being talked about," he said.

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