One of the Shhhh…It’s a Hollywood secrets that was revealed during the most recent Sony email leak was that Ben Affleck, the humanized version of freshly-AXE’d balls jangling around in a pair of gym shorts, had not-so-sneakily tried to get Henry Louis Gates Jr. of the PBS program Finding Your Roots to take a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to his family tree and scrub off the branch containing a slave owner.
Of course, his plan backfired, and now we all know. But rather than send out a mass email to the whole world asking everyone to “do Batman a solid, bro” and mentally delete everything they know about his shady ancestor, Ben Affleck decided to address the messy situation yesterday on Facebook. Batman still wants you to forget about his slave-owning great-great-great-great whatever, bro, but he also wants you to know he’s sorry for how he handled the whole thing with Finding Your Roots.
PS. I don’t know who “Skip” is, so I’m going to pretend he’s talking about Irwin “Skippy” Handelman from Family Ties, because it’s more fun that way.
“After an exhaustive search of my ancestry for Finding Your Roots, it was discovered that one of my distant relatives was an owner of slaves.
I didn’t want any television show about my family to include a guy who owned slaves. I was embarrassed. The very thought left a bad taste in my mouth.
Skip decided what went into the show. I lobbied him the same way I lobby directors about what takes of mine I think they should use. This is the collaborative creative process. Skip agreed with me on the slave owner but made other choices I disagreed with. In the end, it’s his show and I knew that going in. I’m proud to be his friend and proud to have participated.
It’s important to remember that this isn’t a news program. Finding Your Roots is a show where you voluntarily provide a great deal of information about your family, making you quite vulnerable. The assumption is that they will never be dishonest but they will respect your willingness to participate and not look to include things you think would embarrass your family.
I regret my initial thoughts that the issue of slavery not be included in the story. 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. 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.”
And that’s why Finding Your Roots will never do a show on me; I’m far too embarrassing for my family, and therefore it would go against their principles.
Since everyone has a couple damaged rotting branches on their family tree, someone might as well make a spin-off of Finding Your Roots called Forgetting Your Roots. That way, you can address that shit head-on. I would absolutely 100% watch a show that opened with the words “Hi, my name is ____ (insert famous person’s name here) and this is the story of my great-great-great uncle Wurzle Tumps, a man who was arrested sixteen times for resting his penis on the apples at the grocery store. Welcome…to Forgetting Your Roots.“