Citing Ben Affleck’s ‘Improper Influence,’ PBS Suspends ‘Finding Your Roots’Historians in the News
tags: PBS, Finding Your Roots
PBS said on Wednesday that it was postponing a future season of “Finding Your Roots” after an investigation revealed that the actor Ben Affleck pressured producers into leaving out details about an ancestor of his who owned slaves.
PBS will not run the show’s third season until staffing changes are made, including hiring a fact checker, it said.
The show, which is hosted by the Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., traces family histories of celebrities and public figures, and has run for two seasons. The concern about Mr. Affleck’s relative surfaced in the WikiLeakscache of hacked Sony emails after Mr. Gates asked a Sony executive for advice about a “megastar” who wanted to omit a detail about a slave-owning ancestor.“We’ve never had anyone ever try to censor or edit what we found,” Mr. Gates wrote to a Sony executive, Michael Lynton, in July 2014. Mr. Gates added that this would violate PBS rules, and “once we open the door to censorship, we lose control of the brand.”
When the episode was broadcast in October, it did not mention the slave-owning ancestor. After the emails were posted to WikiLeaks, Mr. Gates said that producers had discovered more interesting ancestors from Mr. Affleck’s family, including a relative from the Revolutionary War and an occult enthusiast.
comments powered by Disqus
- Raw Fish and Tapeworms: Ancient Latrines Reveal the Diets of Our Ancestors
- Sam Houston Could Soon Be Getting His Own Presidential Library
- Trump delays release of some JFK assassination files until 2021, bowing to national security concerns
- A Lynching Memorial Is Opening. The Country HasNever Seen Anything Like It.
- Gina Haspel’s CIA Torture File
- Historian Erik Loomis makes the case for a federal jobs guarantee
- Michael Beschloss says this isn't the most politically divisive time in America
- This is what happened when a historian with a rural background wrote favorably about gun control in the Washington Post
- Is Economics Going Back To The 1800s? Maybe So.
- Historian: Why destroying archives is never a good idea