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Ben Affleck Names Slave-Owning Ancestor Amid Backlash Cover-Up

Posted by Marco on 04/26/2015

Courtesy - US Magazine

Mum's no longer the word. Ben Affleck is going for complete transparency in the wake of controversy over a leaked Sony email about his request to omit a slave-owning ancestor from his episode of PBS' Finding Your Roots. After addressing the backlash in a Facebook post on April 21, the Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice star again took to social media to answer one of the most repeated questions about the saga: Who is the ancestor in question?

"Lots of people have been asking who the guy was," Affleck, 42, tweeted on April 22. "His name was Benjamin Cole - lived in Georgia on my Mom's side about six generations back."

The Oscar winner didn't offer any further details -- likely because he doesn't have them. As he commented on his own Facebook post, the lack of information about Cole is one of the reasons Finding Your Roots host Henry Louis Gates Jr. decided not to include him in Affleck's episode.

"To clarify, because I see this story being framed as 'censorship' on some sites, when I told Skip I was uneasy about the slave owner, he told me he had not included it in his preliminary cut because there wasn't much detail -- a name and no details, so he wasn't going with it to begin with," the Argo director explained. "He also told me they would do a book later with a more complete story, and I said I would be happy to participate and talk about the issues more broadly."

Indeed, while the married father of three admitted he was at first "embarrassed" by Cole's branch of the family tree -- "The very thought of it left a bad taste in my mouth," he said -- he now regrets that a conversation about slavery was not included in his part of the show.

"We deserve neither credit nor blame for our ancestors and the degree of interest in this story suggests that we are, as a nation, still grappling with the terrible legacy of slavery," he previously wrote on Facebook. "It is an examination well worth continuing. I am glad that my story, however indirectly, will contribute to that discussion. 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."



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