Poor Ben Affleck. Despite a solid acting and directing career, it seems that this All American Boy just can’t get a break on the pleasant PR front. Even his marriage to America’s sweetheart Jennifer Garner hasn’t secured him a favourable reputation.
Maybe it’s because he’s too handsome. Maybe it’s because those rumours about his break-up with J Lo still haunt him. And let us not forget that time he was banned from a casino because he was allegedly card counting during a blackjack game. However, all these aspects of his perceived character made him the perfect fit for Nick Dunne, the suspect husband in Gone Girl, the hit thriller about a marriage on some serious rocks.
Now it has emerged that Ben shares some duplicitous characteristics with Nick. The actor has landed in hot water in recent days after it was revealed he tried to cover-up his ancestors’ past as slave owners. The truth about his family history emerged while he was shooting a PBS documentary, Finding Your Roots. Sony emails leaked by Wikileaks revealed that Affleck attempted to try and censor the show.
Affleck has responded to the accusations of censorship with a statement on his Facebook, by explaining how he was reluctant for the information to be out in the public because it was so embarrassing.
“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,” he wrote.
Ben then explained that his lobbying of the show’s producers wasn’t as orchestrated as initial reports indicated. “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,’ he said. “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.”
Our thoughts? No one has a blemish-free family tree and sometimes reaching into the past can lead to traumatic discoveries. Most people in Ireland have learned this in recent years as the crimes of the church and state have come to light. However, sometimes talking about the past can lead to a two-way conversation that educates people. We’re glad Ben has come around to that way of thinking.
Follow Jeanne Sutton on Twitter @jeannedesutun.