PBS has halted production on its family history series “Finding Your Roots” after its internal review found that Ben Affleck asserted “improper influence” on the show when it came to excluding the fact that his ancestors owned slaves, according to a press release on Wednesday.
PBS and WNET has decided that producers didn’t protect the creative and editorial process from Affleck’s influence and further failed to report to them that the actor was trying to change program content.
Currently in production on its third season, the show will now be postponed to make some changes ordered by PBS and WNET, including hiring an additional researcher/fact checker and employing an independent genealogist to review episodes for accuracy.
Additionally, PBS is pulling Affleck’s episode from “all forms of distribution including on-air, digital platforms, and home video.”
Affleck’s request of show producer Henry Louis Gates, Jr. to exclude his slave-owning ancestors from the program was discovered in emails uncovered in the Sony hack in mid-April.
In response to reports, the “Batman” actor later apologised for asking that his family’s history of slave-ownership be excluded from the program.
“I didn’t want any television show about my family to include a guy who owned slaves. I was embarrassed,” he wrote on Facebook Tuesday. “The very thought left a bad taste in my mouth.”
Gates would also release a statement saying that he and his fellow producers made their creative choices based on what they felt was most compelling.
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