Gawker has Ben Affleck’s Finding Your Roots script before his requested edits

I had the chance to watch the Finding Your Roots episode that featured Ben Affleck and which we now know he requested be edited to remove references to his slave-owning great-great-great grandfather. That episode also included dancer/actress Khandi Alexander, a woman of color, and Benjamin Todd Jealous, who was president of the NAACP from 2008-2013. It was largely focused on activism and issues of race.

In Ben’s first segment, they spent a significant amount of time talking about his mother’s activism during the Civil Rights movement, particularly the Freedom Summer of 1964. They went on to discuss one of his third great grandfathers, who was a spiritualist in the post Civil War period. Then the show cut to Alexander, who learned that her maternal grandfather was born in Savannah, GA in 1910 at the height of Jim Crow segregation. Host Henry Louis Gates, Jr. showed photos of Alexander’s great great paternal grandparents, who were born into slavery. He went further back to Alexander’s third great grandfather and revealed that he was a white man who owned slaves. Alexander’s third great grandmother was a slave owned by her grandfather.

Alexander’s introductory segment was much more compelling than Affleck’s, but it was meant to be preceded by Affleck’s realization that, like Alexander, his third great grandfather also owned slaves, also in Savannah, where Alexander similarly had roots.

Gawker obtained a copy of the script for this episode prior to Affleck’s request that his segment be edited. As Gawker explains, the whole issue of slave owning ancestors was central to the show. Here is part of the script that was cut, with more at the source. (Note that the all-caps text is narration.)

GATES: This is the slave schedule of the 1850 Census. In 1850, they would list the owner of slaves in a separate Census.

AFFLECK: There’s Benjamin Cole, owned 25 slaves.

GATES: Your third great-grandfather owned 25 slaves. He was a slave owner.

THESE HOLDINGS PUT BENJAMIN COLE AMONG THE SOUTHERN ELITE.

ONLY ABOUT 10% OF ALL SLAVE HOLDERS OWNED 20 SLAVES OR MORE.

AFFLECK: God. It gives me kind of a sagging feeling to see, uh, a biological relationship to that. But, you know, there it is, part of our history.

GATES: But consider the irony, uh, in your family line. Your mom went back fighting for the rights of black people in Mississippi, 100 years later. That’s amazing.

AFFLECK: That’s pretty cool.

GATES: That’s pretty cool.

AFFLECK: Yeah, it is. One of the things that’s interesting about it is like we tend to separate ourselves from these things by going like, you know, oh, well, it’s just dry history, and it’s all over now, and this shows us that there’s still a living aspect to history, like a personal connection.

By the same token, I think it’s important to recognize that, um, in looking at these histories, how much work has been done by people in this country, of all kinds, to make it a better place.

GATES: People like your mother.

AFFLECK: Indeed, people like my mother and many others who have made a much better America than the one that they were handed.

[From Gawker]

Affleck came across well in this transcript, he handled the realization as you would expect, so it’s strange that he asked that this be removed. Gates even repeatedly brought it back around to Affleck’s mom’s activism.

Gawker also notes that the introductory narration initially included the detail that every guest in the episode had descended from slave owners.

IN THIS EPISODE, WE PIECE TOGETHER THE LOST FAMILY HISTORIES OF ACTOR BEN AFFLECK, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST BEN JEALOUS, AND ACTOR KHANDI ALEXANDER.

THEIR ROOTS HIGHLIGHT A UNIQUELY AMERICAN PARADOX: EACH DESCENDS FROM A PATRIOT WHO FOUGHT FOR OUR NATION’S INDEPENDENCE—BUT EACH ALSO DESCENDS FROM AN ANCESTOR WHO OWNED SLAVES.

[From Gawker]

The updated version of the narration tied the guests together by their ancestor’s involvement in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars.

This script disproves Affleck’s second statement, made on Facebook, that these edits were not a big deal. He wrote, in part, “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.

As I mentioned yesterday, this second statement isn’t consistent with Affleck’s first statement, in which he framed the request for edits as a collaborative creative process after he felt vulnerable and embarrassed. We now know that it’s not true that this segment was already cut. It’s still possibly true that Gates told this to Affleck in order to downplay his concern. However this played out, Affleck’s slave-owning ancestor was key to this episode, and Gates was so worried about removing that part that he sought advice from the CEO of Sony pictures.

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60 Responses to “Gawker has Ben Affleck’s Finding Your Roots script before his requested edits”

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  1. Sara says:

    If you don’t want to learn bad stuff about your ancestors, never go on a genealogy program. Seriously. Most of my ancestors were horrible; one day I’ll probably be someone’s horrible ancestor, since I buy cheap clothing made by child slave labor.

    • NewWester says:

      Imagine when future generations look back at what people today have done to the environment!

      • Linn says:

        That is if we don’t manage to blow up the planet during our lifetime and there will be future generations.

      • Sarah says:

        Assuming there are future generations and we haven’t messed it all up beyond repair.

    • Kara says:

      this is what i dont understand, he must be so caught up in thinking he is Mister Perfect that it did not occur to him there could be terrible ancestors.

    • Pinky says:

      The original script was much more compelling, and Ben’s reaction was very good. It would have made for great television, a great revelation, and GARNERED SYMPATHY FOR THE MAN! Instead, in trying to cover it up, he made the whole situation worse, where it makes it seem like he’s trying to whitewash history and appear holier-than-thou. Such a stupid, rookie mistake. What the heck is wrong with him and his instincts? So classless. So dumb.

      • Suzy from Ontario says:

        Pinky, I agree 100%. I just don’t understand why he tried to hide it. The transcript is good and he came off great. The fact that his Mom was an activist for civil rights was awesome… what he did was unnecessary and just made him look like an idiot. And if he truly is planning to get into politics, it also made him look like someone who hides things and then lies about it. Course, maybe that means he’s perfect for politics! lol

    • pinkparisole says:

      Leave it up to the celebitchy crowd to skate around any discussion about American slavery with comments about abused bunnies, landfills and sweatshops.

      Meanwhile, you missed the reason why the whole Affleck debacle is sad and amusing. We know slavery happened and MANY people have profited (in several ways) from the actions of their ancestors. It’s no their fault, but they can control how they handle that knowledge. Choosing to bury it while emphasizing your mother (The Great White Hope) is sleazy and an incredibly poor way to manage a teachable moment.

      Refusing to do the show (in other words, let’s never talk about history that might make white people look bad) is no better.

  2. jinni says:

    I wonder if he’s going to release a third statement to cover up the blatant lie that was his second statement to make up for his lame first statement.

  3. MelissaManifesto says:

    So Ben made a mistake according to most, I don’t see the big deal in being ashamed that your ancestor was a slave owner. I have a cousin who is a racist, we know some of the same people, and I tell her explicitly that I do not tell people we are related because I don’t want to be associated with her blatant racism.

    In an ideal world, no one would care, but in the real cold world, a racist cousin is going make most people think that I am in fact a racist too. At least that’s what “I” think. If you were to interview me about my family, I would not mention her, if you were to mention her, I’d tell you to opt her out.

    • evasmom says:

      I completely understand your point. Maybe he should have just pulled out altogether then.

      • LB says:

        Imagine the headline if that info came out then. Ben Affleck pulls out of PBS show after revelation that ancestor was a slave owner.

        He can’t win. He’s one of those people who’s like a lightning rod for criticism.

      • Suzy from Ontario says:

        Anyone who is from the South has to know that a show about their ancestry is likely to show slave-owners in their past. He’s not an unintelligent man. If he was too embarrassed to have that come up, then he should not have agreed to the show. Once he agreed to be on it, he should have just dealt with it like the transcript above, which was perfect. Yes, it’s shameful and embarrassing to know you are biologically related to someone who did that, but that was part of history and normal at that time. We had no control over who are ancestors were or what they did before we were born. All we can do with that shame is try to use it to make the world a better place and fight for the rights of those persecuted now in our time. We all want to be proud of our heritage, but likely everyone will have things in their past that are shameful because what was considered normal in the past can seem pretty horrific and shameful today.

    • Linn says:

      I understand the point, but I think he should have pulled his complete involvement with the show instead making it all about his great ancestors and trying to sweep the negative ones under the carpet.

    • Jayna says:

      This. It will blow over in another day as the gossip cycle rushes on to the next scandal or gossip in the 24/7 world of gossip and news.

    • Sarah says:

      A racist cousin is one thing. A racist great great Grandfather is quite another. This is such a non-issue and it is beyond ridiculous that Ben was worked up about it enough to ask for it to be cut. It would have been better if he had just said that he didn’t want to participate at all – or the filming of him to air. Weird.

      • ¡mire usted! says:

        @Jayna – “It will blow over in another day as the gossip cycle.” Really?

        “PBS and WNET are conducting an internal review led by our respective programming teams of the circumstances around the Finding Your Roots episode ‘Roots of Freedom,’ ” the pubcasters said in a joint statement.

        Is this illegal? No. Unethical? Yes! He broke rules.

        BTW, this is not just Daily Mail coverage. It’s CNN, BBC, PBS, Hollywood Reporter, etc.

    • anne_000 says:

      In the excerpt above, one can read that Gates purposely made sure to mention Affleck’s Civil Rights activist mother each time the slave-owning ancestor was mentioned to make it look good for Affleck’s family and image.

      So I doubt any viewers would have heard only the slave-owning part and not the Civil Rights part. There have been other celebrities on the show with slave-owning ancestors yet the public has not equated the celebrities themselves with their racist ancestors.

      What’s happening with your cousin is far different from what’s happened with Affleck because for him, it’s a over a hundred years and several generations removed with an ancestor that Affleck has never had any personal connections to nor has he ever heard of.

      I seriously doubt that if Affleck had let the Gates keep in the Cole story that the public would compare him to his ancestor. It hasn’t happened to the other celebrity guests, so I doubt it would happen to him – unless he thinks he’s so special and in the public’s mind more than he actually is.

  4. Nicole says:

    Shady actor is shady. No wonder he’s got his heart set on a political life.

  5. NewWester says:

    Why did Ben agree to be on this show in the first place? There have been other shows like this and researchers have found information that has been rather shocking. It just seems like this is becoming a huge mess which he could have avoided by just saying no to being on the show or allowing the information about his family to be broadcast. All of this would have been forgotten and the public would have moved on by now

  6. Maya says:

    Wow – this just put an end to Ben’s political aspirations.

    • LB says:

      Not really. Only a few bloggers, posters and websites care enough to feel upset about this.

      Mountains out of molehills, especially considering the larger scheme of shady stuff politicians do. He will be fine if he ever decides to run, which I’m not sure he will

    • DN says:

      Not even close – if Arnold Schwarzenegger can be elected governor of California in the midst of a scandal involving multiple reports of sexual assault, I’m pretty sure Ben Affleck will be fine.

    • Jayna says:

      A request to leave out something he was personally embarrassed by and shocked and ashamed to find out about his ancestor on a TV show when finding out. No email from Ben, just Gates in email discussing whether to honor Ben’s request to leave it out. He made a mistake and requested they edit his segment without it and the leaks about this turned messy for a day or two. Hardly the stuff that ruins political aspirations some day.

      Obama survived that horrible minister, Rev. Wright, whose church he attended where ugly things came out about some of his sermons, and were released during Obama’s run for presidency. And his sermon about Hillary Clinton in a church was vile from what I remember, coming from a minister on a Sunday. It didn’t sink Obama.

      Clinton survived women coming out of the woodwork and all kinds of allegations to go on and win the presidency, no less.

      Clint Eastwood had a messy personal life with Sandra Locke and allegations and he became mayor.

      As DN said above, the whole Arnold Shwarzenegger mess.

      Ben running for Senate or mayor or governor one day, this won’t hurt him, asking for an edit for a TV show, because he was blindsided by the revelation and ashamed of his ancestor and made an error in judgment,

  7. evasmom says:

    Gross. Pampered entitled spoiled brat. Must be nice to have world at your feet and have the power to do whatever the hell you want – even revise history. Glad it came out. So ironic. Now everyone knows and is talking about it whereas if he would have just left it in it would have been no big deal. Lameass.

    • sara says:

      I agree. I am not a big fan of Affleck’s at all. He is such a slimy douchebag.
      I can just imagine the amount of stuff his PR team really covers up. I do not envy Garner at all.

  8. MemmeImagine says:

    Goodness, you’d think this was the crime of the century or something. He was embarrassed by something completely out of his control, tried to cover it up and made himself look like an ass in the process. Got it. Now lets move on. No need to analyze this 100 ways to Sunday.

    • FLORC says:

      You don’t have to. I think some threads here are ott and absurd so I don’t participate.

      That saying applies here to those who don’t want to participate in something still coming only to protest. They’re a vegan in a butchers shop.

  9. Sixer says:

    Oh dear. It’s all going from bad to worse, isn’t it?

    I keep thinking of David Tennant, who did a similar show here in the UK. He found out one of his ancestors was big in the Orange Order in Ulster and had been involved in vote-rigging and various other stuff. The history was clearly at odds with his own politics and world view and he was open about how uncomfortable it all made him feel. But he really engaged with the process, found other relatives who had been part of the peace movement in Northern Ireland, and gained in understanding of all the complexities of the situation and the time.

    That he was so ready to take in the information and find out more without any knee jerk reactions or rushing to judgement really made me think well of him, you know?

    I can’t help but think Affleck has missed a trick here by handling this so badly. He could have turned a negative into a positive but instead he doubled down on the negative by censoring.

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      Exactly. You can’t usually control what comes your way, you can only control how you handle it. This was not the way to handle it.

    • pwal says:

      I have to wonder if BA ever watched the show. This sort of thing, i.e. people finding out that their ancestors owned slaves, happens all the time. Hell, Wanda Sykes found out that her Black ancestors owned them. She handled the news with humor, mainly because it was likely that she considered the possibility of it well before this genealogy opportunity came up.

      What’s BA’s problem?

    • PennyLane says:

      This story just makes me love David Tennant more.

    • FLORC says:

      Love DT for how he handled that. Affleck’s response seemed more like he was trying to come off sounding a certain way, but just couldn’t do it. And that’s why the host had to keep leading him in the conversation.

      I have direct links to slave owners that were quite awful, but we’re talking ancient sparta.
      Not a cousin or uncle.
      When you research your past or want to know where your bloodline comes from/who they were/how they lived it’s an open door. You have to take it all. Or else you’re rewritting your own bloodlines history. Then what’s the point?

      Might be time for another dimple parade.

    • Blue says:

      Yes it’s getting worse. Daily mail is now reporting that Ben’s mom was not a freedom rider in 1964 and she confirmed that was true. Did no one apart from Ben Affleck and his PR team check the facts of this program before it was made. Appalling journalism by Gates and his team.

      • anne_000 says:

        I think Affleck knew his mother wasn’t a 1964 Freedom Rider. All he had to do was talk to his mother about his experience on the show and she would have confirmed that she wasn’t in a flat second.

        He should have admitted it to Gates and PBS before the episode aired. He also should have mentioned this when the censoring story came out. But because he hasn’t, the media keep finding out more wrongs committed, so it’s like a painful and slow removal of a bandage .

  10. serena says:

    I don’t get why he messed up so badly since he handled himself pretty well in the transcript!

    • anne_000 says:

      I agree that he handled himself pretty well in the transcript.

      But his ego couldn’t be satisfied with that, imo. He had to have a spotless familial image of himself, even though the theme of the episode was about slave ownership in US history.

      People like Affleck who can’t stand having less than perfect ancestors be made known to the public should NEVER be on these types of shows.

      Affleck should have just gotten a private genealogist before agreeing to do the show just to make sure his ancestors were perfect people. Then when the genealogist would have found three slave-owning ancestors (according to DM), then Affleck would have known to turn down doing a public genealogy show.

      People like Affleck are way too sensitive to their image for their own good.

  11. Ninks says:

    This is the Streisand effect happening in real time. If the original edit had been left, this would have garnered very little attention. The fact that his ancestors had slaves, while understandably embarrassing, is hardly shocking in a country built on slavery. It would have got a little attention possibly, but it would have died down in hours once a Kardashian posted a new selfie. Now, people are talking about it, and talking about his attempt to cover it up and Affleck comes off looking far worse than if he’d just left it alone.

  12. Mispronounced Name Dropper says:

    In case you missed it yesterday:
    “We don’t have finding your roots in Australia. We have tinder”

  13. belle de jour says:

    The way this has been mishandled by several parties involved turns Gates into a sort of wood-panelled library Maury Povich & Affleck as the truth-dodging stooge on a fancier PBS episode of “Who’s Your Daddy?”

  14. Angie says:

    Off topic: I know this “scandal” is not comparable to the Jon Hamm one but it kinda irks me that Gawker and others are all over Affleck while Hamm seems to have totally skated.
    I just feel like there is a halo effect at play here – not unlike what his character on 30 Rock experienced.
    He’s conventionally handsome, a good actor, not an obvious or annoying famewhore, etc. Plus his politics and tastes (“Eww Kardashians!”) align with alot of bloggers. As such they want to believe the best of him and assume he’s changed despite the fact he never paid for his crimes and has never addressed his actions.
    Meh.

    As for Affleck. The dumbass should have left the revelation in. Noone would have thought less of him but now they think he’s sketchy.

    • Anon33 says:

      First of all, no one knows what Jon may have done to atone for what he did. I really wish people would stop saying that “he hasn’t don’t anything.” We simply don’t know that.
      Second of all, he wisely kept his mouth shut and hasn’t issued statement after self serving statement about his actions.
      And quite frankly, I don’t think he owes anyone an apology or an explanation for something that happened twenty five years ago. Whereas Affleck is being a douche right here right now in real time.
      Signed, a Jon Hamm apologist.

      • Angie says:

        I didn’t attack Hamm. That wasn’t the point of my post. My point is that sites like Gawker are totally ignoring this story because of their fondness for Hamm. They’re hypocrites because if it was most other celebs they’d be all over this story. And no, it’s not about it being 25 years old. Plenty of terrible stories crop up about celebrities that are even older and they are still reported on. A good recent example is Bill Cosby. That story didn’t get attention due to new victims coming out. It got attention because a MALE comedian made a joke about it and only after the media picked it up again did new victims come out. The media ignored and implicitly covered up Cosby’s rapey past because they like Bill Cosby/Cliff Huxtable and I think they’re doing the same with Hamm.

        I’m sorry it’s just hypocritical and it irks me. Either report on all the dish or don’t claim to report on celeb gossip. And the same commentors who will gleefully rage against say Sean Penn for what he did to Madonna will fall all over themselves making excuses for why Hamm’s sadistic behavior is a non-story. I can hear the “Oh but Sean Penn is a known violent douchebag” cry now (regardless of what Charlize Theron or whoever claim) but the truth is we don’t know Jon Hamm well enough to say whether he’s a douchebag or not. I was personally floored by this story. I was a huge fan and had no idea he’d done something like this in the past.

        Yes, perhaps it was wise for Hamm to say nothing. That way the general public that love him on Mad Men, 30 Rock and his appearances on Saturday Night Live will never be the wiser. But it actually makes me like the man less and I was once a huge fan.

        I also wanted to add, I think all your points are valid on the most basic human level. That’s how I generally operate: Giving people the benefit of the doubt and respecting their privacy and in general not judging them for things they did 25 years ago. But this is a gossip site and if people really lived by those rules here there would literally be no stories. My point really isn’t about whether Hamm deserves to be publicly ridiculed for what he did. It’s more about the hypocrisy of so many gossip sites. Thank goodness for Celebitchy.

  15. Maum says:

    Wow. He’s ageing badly.

  16. Regina Phalange says:

    BUSTED dude! HAHA. .

  17. Kiddo says:

    This was compelling programming and it makes me sad that Gates nixed it for whatever reason. I really liked him.

  18. ¡mire usted! says:

    This won’t end because Ben’s ego won’t let it. He’s already responded several times now. So far we have 2 Facebook posts and 1 tweet and he hasn’t even sent out Garner yet. (Maybe she’ll reshoot her commercial and say, “Ben and I have slave owners in our history, what’s in your wallet?” LOL) It’ll more pap pics of his children and then he’ll roll out Matt followed by another “humanitarian” award in time for the Batman release.

    He refuses to simply apologize and just move on. He refuses to simply say, “I’m sorry.” Instead he only “regrets.” He insists he did nothing wrong. “Skip” made the decision – you know, blame it on the black guy. He even refuses to acknowledge a highly distinguished black professor by the title he earned. Notice how he will not address Sony Pictures CEO Michael Lynton’s admission when he stated, “”I would take it out if no one knows,” and “But if it gets out that you are editing the material based on this kind of sensitivity then it gets tricky.”

    It really is “tricky,” isn’t it? Now is that coming from a tabloid? Is that coming from Dr. Gates? Dr. Gates was advised by a CEO to “take it out” based on the “megastar” Affleck’s request. Is this based on people “hating’ Ben? It’s “tricky” because it’s unethical. Rules have been broken. Ben can edit and direct fictional films but he cannot edit and direct history.

    You know, black people live with our slave history 365 days a year and Ben Affleck cannot humbly sit down for 5 minutes and acknowledge his slave owning ancestors.

    BTW, Kevin Bacon, Ken Burns, Anderson Cooper and many others (black people too like Ben Jealous!) openly discussed their slave owning ancestors on the show with humility and grace and NOT ONE negative tweet, email, or blog post about it. Nothing!

    But not Benny Boy. Nooooooo. He “lobbies” professors, producers and CEOs because he can’t and will not be “embarrassed.” What a wonderful lesson for his children. If you don’t like your history, simply “lobby” to delete it. Wow! Daddy can have slave owners deleted right from history. Yay! LOL Gee, maybe he can zap out the holocaust too?

    Dr. Gates was not trying to embarrass Ben. He was trying to teach him about the complexity of America’s history. But as a college drop out, Ben knows more than “Skip.” “Skip” must listen to Ben.

    More to come folks. Ben will not let this go.

    • anne_000 says:

      ” He insists he did nothing wrong. “Skip” made the decision – you know, blame it on the black guy. He even refuses to acknowledge a highly distinguished black professor by the title he earned. ”

      “But as a college drop out, Ben knows more than “Skip.” “Skip” must listen to Ben.”

      I agree with you that Affleck was wrong in publicly calling Professor Gates as “Skip” especially in relation to something that is a serious issue for Prof. Gates. Maybe in private conversation in a friendly manner, but it rubbed me the wrong way when I saw Affleck’s FB post call him “Skip.”

      I also agree with you that Affleck’s latest response puts all the blame on Gates and tries to erase the fact that all of this started with Affleck’s request to delete that particular segment.

      Iirc, Prof. Gates’ recent response tried to alleviate some of the fault off of Affleck, but Affleck, instead of reciprocating in kind by trying to alleviate some of the blame off of Gates, he goes full on with putting all of the blame on Gates.

      Not nice, especially when there’s a PBS investigation on Gates which could harm him and which started out by trying to bend over backwards for Affleck’s sake. Talk about ingratitude by Affleck and then throwing Prof. Gates under the bus. Ruthless.

    • Blue says:

      +1000 to everything you said.

      “You know, black people live with our slave history 365 days a year and Ben Affleck cannot humbly sit down for 5 minutes and acknowledge his slave owning ancestors.”

      Ben Affleck’s actions over this just showed us who he really is as a person.

  19. TheBizzla says:

    FAH Q Ben Affleck. Tryin to make yourself look better than others you only made yourself look like a real douche.

  20. d says:

    Ben Affleck is typical of those smart-dumb insufferable persons whose ego ALWAYS trips them because they spend too much time thinking about their image and being a certain way and indulging in too much of their egotistical needs instead of just being. Good God, I cannot imagine being married to this guy. What a blundering fool. He may be smart and a good filmmaker, but he is also a dum-dum. Does he not have a father who can kick his butt and tell him to get over himself?

  21. anne_000 says:

    DM has an exclusive article out now that says Gates and the episode was wrong in saying that Affleck’s mother was part of the 1964 Freedom Summer and one of the 436 members of the 1964 Freedom Riders.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3053945/Now-Ben-Affleck-s-MOM-reveals-mistakes-documentary-censored-star-s-family-s-slave-owning-past-says-did-NOT-Freedom-Summer-Freedom-Rides.html
    ************************

    Mrs. Affleck (Ben’s mother) “told Daily Mail Online she was not a Freedom Rider – and was not in the South in 1964, but a year later. ”

    She “told Daily Mail Online that she was not part of the Freedom Rider campaign.”

    “She said her ‘heart was with’ the Freedom Riders, the civil rights activists who rode interstate buses into the segregated southern states in mixed groups in 1961, but she was not actually a member as has been reported.

    ‘I supported what they did. People have incorrectly said I was a member which embarrasses me because I wasn’t as good as they were,’ she said.”
    ************************

    So, now I’m thinking that after the episode was filmed, Affleck told his mother what was said about her. She then told him the information on her was wrong, but Affleck didn’t tell Gates nor anybody else at PBS and figured that silence would be best and to let the viewers keep thinking of his mother in a way that wasn’t actually true.

    Yes, she was a Civil Rights activist, but she wasn’t there as part of the historical events that occurred during the 1964 Freedom Summer and 1964 Freedom Ride and of which Gates explained in detail to Affleck and the viewers during the filming of the episode.

    Basically, Affleck’s episode was a farce and basing it on the high probability that he talked to his mother after filming and before the episode aired, or even after it aired, he knew as a certainty that it was a farce.
    ************************

    As I said in a previous article’s post on this subject, the DM also has an article out that Affleck actually has at least three slave-owning ancestors, two of them Northerners. I wonder if these other two were even allowed to be found out, one of whom was the grandfather of the Revolutionary War hero who was mentioned in the episode.

    • anne_000 says:

      I based my previous post on the assumption that Gates truly did not know that the information on Affleck’s mother was false.

      Because it would be mind-blowing if Gates bent over twice for Affleck. Once for censoring his own show and the other to make up false facts about Affleck’s mother, all just to please Affleck and also in the hopes of getting Affleck to come good on the prospect of getting the more famous Matt Damon on the show.

      • ¡mire usted! says:

        @anne_000 Thanks for your supportive comments earlier and sharing this. I KNEW there was more to come! I have the complete episode on my DVR. I wish I knew how to upload it here. Now that I know about the intentional omission, it’s obvious where the producers jumped to the part about his mother – skipping his slave ancestors. In fact, I remember thinking it appeared “staged” when Ben reacted to his mother’s participation in the 1964 Freedom rider campaign. This is snow balling.

        Unlike Ben Affleck, I remember in this same episode Benjamin Jealous, the NAACP President, facing his own slave ancestors. He broke down into tears about it. See it’s not just whites who have slave owners in their ancestry! Don’t you think Benjamin Jealous was embarrassed that he, the President of the NAACP, has slave ancestors? Of course but he knows it’s important to acknowledge it.

        I wonder if Ben Affleck knows how “embarrassing” and painful it is for a black person to come to terms with having “distant relatives” who were bought and sold as slaves. I can tell you, it’s very difficult and very painful. I wish he knew how difficult it is for a mother like me to face that moment when her beautiful black daughters realize they’re descendants of slaves but I faced it. Why can’t face his ancestors?

        I bet my children were “embarrassed” to sit in a room filled with predominantly white classmates to learn about the Middle Passage and the slave trade. Can they tell their teacher, “Can you leave that out? I’m ‘embarrassed’ because I have “distant relatives” that suffered through this.” No. She must sit there, listen and take notes because it’s history. Ben just had to listen respectfully, nod in acknowledgement and say a few sentences acknowledging the injustices of slavery and the progress since.

        Only cowards refuse to face the truth. I hope Ken Burns and others address this.

        And just think, all he had to say was, “I’m sorry.”

      • Kath says:

        ¡mire usted: awesome post. I totally agree.

  22. poppy says:

    because he thinks he’s always right and always knows best this just keeps blowing up in his smug face.
    serves him right. such an egomaniacal jack a$$.