In October 2014, he was the subject of an episode of "Finding Your Roots" on PBS hosted by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (of Beer Summit fame). On the show, Dr. Gates researches the guest's family tree and then they sit down and ooh and aaaah about their ancestors. But the email revealed that there may have been a few branches cut out of Mr. Affleck's tree for the show. It turns out that one of the branches on Affleck's family tree was a 19th Century Southern slave-owner named Benjamin Cole of Georgia. He was so embarrassed that someone like that could have been an ancestor that he asked the producers to cut out that particular branch from his episode and they obliged. Not only has this revelation landed the PBS production in hot water for breach of integrity, but poor Ben's embarrassing secret has been revealed.
"I didn't want any television show about my family to include a guy who owned slaves," Affleck wrote. "I was embarrassed. The very thought left a bad taste in my mouth."
Affleck is now on his apology tour and it just smacks of being way overly sensitive in that Liberal way that only Liberals can be. I mean, seriously, what difference does it make (thanks, Hillary!). Does Affleck really think that he will lose his Liberal street cred and people will refuse to see his movies because of something one of his distant ancestors did 150 years ago?
Now I should say this. I have at least one Southern slave-owner in my family tree too and the papers to prove it. And depending on how far back I go, I have ancestors who were slaves in Eqypt. But as a half-way intelligent person, I have the ability to put that kind of thing into its proper historical context. It was what people did in this country and we have to admit that it was perfectly legal up until Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. I cannot be embarrassed by my ancestors because A) there's is nothing that can change that history and B) my family hasn't owned slaves for generations now. Am I being a little bit insensitive?
Let's discuss. And if any of you have any embarrassing ancestors, the time to reveal it would be now...
On a similar note, New York City will soon be revealing its slave selling past. A memorial plaque will be set up on June 19th at the site of a 18th Century slave market ironically on Wall Street.