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Thread: Ben Affleck Suppressed Family's Slave-Owning Past

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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    Default Ben Affleck Suppressed Family's Slave-Owning Past

    Leaked Emails: Ben Affleck Suppressed Family's Slave-Owning Past





    As a guest on PBS genealogy program Finding Your Roots, Ben Affleck discovered one of his ancestors owned slaves and asked producers to suppress that fact, hacked Sony emails uploaded by WikiLeaks this week show.


    The censorship—an apparent violation of PBS rules—is revealed in a July 2014 email thread between Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton and Finding Your Rootshost Henry Louis Gates Jr. In it, the two discuss the unusual request of an unnamed “megastar” later referred to as “Batman.”


    “[C]onfidentially, for the first time, one of our guests has asked us to edit out something about one of his ancestors—the fact that he owned slaves,” Gates writes to Lynton. “We’ve never had anyone ever try to censor or edit what we found. He’s a megastar. What do we do?”



    In his reply, Lynton recommends removing the material as long as “no one [else] knows,” before writing “all things being equal I would definitely take it out.”



    Eventually, Gates acknowledges that fulfilling the request “would be a violation of PBS rules, actually, even for Batman” and “would embarrass him and compromise our integrity,” concluding, “Once we open the door to censorship, we lose control of the brand.”


    Nonetheless, the episode aired without the information.


    In a statement released by Gates on Friday, the Harvard professor denied removing the material at Affleck’s request, saying it was ignored so as to focus on “the most interesting aspects of his ancestry”:

    We are very grateful to all of our guests for allowing us into their personal lives and have told hundreds of stories in this series including many about slave ancestors—never shying away from chapters of a family’s past that might be unpleasant. Ultimately, I maintain editorial control on all of my projects and, with my producers, decide what will make for the most compelling program.

    In a parallel statement, PBS praised Gates’ “editorial integrity” and repeated his claim that “he and his producers made an independent editorial judgment to choose the most compelling narrative.”


    http://gawker.com/leaked-emails-ben-...own-1698664932



    Affleck starred in Gigli, he should be much more embarrassed by that than something some ancestors did.
    Last edited by witchcurlgirl; April 18th, 2015 at 03:41 PM.



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    A*O
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    Oh FFS, enough with the right on PC Posturing Ben. Every family has it's skeletons on the cupboard, that's kinda the whole point of these shows? Slave ownership was a normal part of that society and thankfully times have changed. But it's still interesting and it's part of his family history (not HIM) so censoring it is unnecessary, in fact it needs to be revealed and discussed. That's how he should deal with it, not pretending it never happened.
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    Elite Member Novice's Avatar
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    I'll just leave these here then....
    9 White Celebs, World Leaders Whose Families Owned Slaves

    August 21, 2013 | Posted by ABS Staff
    Tagged With: Celebs Whose Family Owned Black Slaves, David Cameron, george h.w. bush, George W Bush, john mccain, Paula Deen, President Obama, Race In America, racism, Reba McEntire, Richard Dawkins, Rick Warren, slavery
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    Pages: 1 2 3 4 5



    Anderson Cooper
    A rule of thumb is: where there is old money, you will find some connection to slavery. So of course it wasn’t hard to determine that Anderson Cooper was connected, in a familial way, to slavery. His bloodline is tied to the Vanderbilts, one of the richest families in American history. Cooper’s great-great-grandfather, Cornelius Vanderbilt – who was also Cooper’s cousin through inbreeding – was a tycoon who built his wealth from shipping and railroads. He also owned plantations: one in particular was in Georgetown, S.C., where Michelle Robinson Obama’s ancestor Jim Robinson, who was born a slave in 1850, worked.

    David Cameron
    The family of the current Prime Minister of Britain, David Cameron, benefited from the enslavement of African people. According to Dr. Nick Draper of University College London, as many as one-fifth of wealthy Victorian Britons inherited part or all of their fortunes from the slave economy. As a result, there are now wealthy families all around the U.K. still indirectly enjoying the proceeds of slavery they have inherited. In addition to benefiting from slavery while it was legal in the British empire, Cameron’s ancestors were given £4,101, equal to more than £3 million today ($4.7 million dollars), for the 202 black people they enslaved on the Grange Sugar Estate in Jamaica.


    Pages: 1 2 3 4 5


    Paula Deen
    On the season finale of NBC’s “Who Do You Think You Are?“, Paula Deen discovered that her ancestor, John Batts, was a slave owner. Deen, who was born, raised and still lives in Georgia, found that Batts, a politician and plantation owner, was very wealthy and a hefty portion of his assets were slaves.
    “I have said so many times that my family was never involved in slavery in any way,” Deen said, adding, “It is horrific and it is sad.”


    Pastor Rick Warren
    Celebrity pastor Rick Warren encountered the sins—and triumphs—of his fathers when he sat down with Harvard history professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. for an PBS episode of “Finding Your Roots.” Warren, who founded the 20,000-member Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., was stunned to learn that his third great-grandfather owned slaves in antebellum Alabama.
    Author of bestselling “The Purpose Driven Life,” Warren delivered the invocation at President Obama’s inauguration in January 2009.



    George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush
    According to researchers, a notoriously vicious slave trader, who brought captive slaves from West Africa to colonial America, is the same man whose descendants produced two U.S. presidents: George W. Bush and his father, George H.W. Bush.
    Slate.com reports:
    “Twelve American presidents owned slaves, eight while serving in office, and at least 25 presidents count slave owners among their ancestors. But Thomas Walker a direct ancestor of George W. and George H.W. Bush was part of a much more appalling group: Thomas Walker was a notorious slave trader active in the late 18th century along the coast of West Africa. Walker, George H.W. Bush’s great-great-great grandfather, was the captain of, master of, or investor in at least 11 slaving voyages to West Africa between 1784 and 1792.”
    In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, at least five Walker family households, George W. Bush’s ancestors by his father’s mother, owned slaves in Maryland’s Cecil County.


    Richard Dawkins
    The outspoken atheist, who once branded the Catholic Church as “evil,” is the direct descendent of Henry Dawkins who owned 1,013 slaves in Jamaica until he died in 1744.
    According to the U.K.-based Daily Mail, Dawkins’ 400-acre family estate, Over Norton Park near Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, is believed to have been bought with money made through slave ownership hundreds of years ago.
    Dawkins is best known as author of “The Selfish Gene.”



    Reba McEntire
    McEntire was able to trace her ancestral roots back several centuries in America and England. She discovered aspects of her family background that pained her greatly from the NBC documentary series, “Who Do You Think You Are?”, including the fact that one of her great-grandfathers was a slave owner.


    John McCain
    John McCain is perhaps most well known as President Obama’s opponent in the 2008 presidential election. What is not as well known about McCain is that his ancestor owned about 120 slaves before the end of the Civil War.
    The story of McCain’s family is significant, in that it teaches us about the ongoing legacy of slavery and racism in the U.S.
    A Wall Street Journal article states that while descendants of McCain’s great-great-grandfather inherited and still own 1,500 acres of the original plantation land, the descendants of the Africans who were enslaved on the same plantation, “built a four -room school house with $1,750 they scraped together and $900 from philanthropy.” The black descendants also worked to save “enough to buy a small parcel of farmland.”
    This is indicative of the inheritance of privilege: when it comes to wealth, white folks have been given a head start.
    Oh, yeah, then there is this...

    NYC Commissioner’s Ancestors Were Slaves Of Benedict Cumberbatch’s Family

    The actor has spoken in the past about his family’s “dodgy” legacy as slaveowners in the Caribbean.
    posted on Jan. 31, 2014, at 8:01 p.m. Ellie Hall BuzzFeed News Reporter






    Stacey Cumberbatch
    Shannon Stapleton / Reuters



    Benedict Cumberbatch
    Larry Busacca / Getty Images






    Stacey Cumberbatch, New York City’s newly appointed commissioner of citywide administrative services, said in an interview after her introduction at City Hall last week that she shares a last name with the British actor Benedict Cumberbatch because her ancestors were slaves owned by his family.
    The commissioner, who is the granddaughter of Caribbean immigrants, told the New York Times that the actor’s fifth-great-grandfather owned a plantation in Barbados and explained that it was common for slaves to take the surnames of their owners during that time. The British Cumberbatches were a famous family of “merchants and adventurers” in the 18th and 19th century, and it is a matter of public record that Abraham Cumberbatch (Benedict’s fifth-great-grandfather) founded the family’s fortunes on a sugar plantation in Barbados.
    Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about his father’s family’s “dodgy” legacy in the Caribbean in the past. In an interview with Scotland on Sunday in September 2007, he talked candidly about his slave-owning ancestors and his mother’s advice not to use his last name professionally to avoid becoming the target of reparations lawsuits:
    Cumberbatch is his father’s name and the old man’s an actor too, although Dad wasn’t brave enough to use it and instead works as Timothy Carlton. “Cumberbatch — it sounds like a fart in a bath, doesn’t it?” he laughs. “What a fluffy old name. I can never say it on a Monday morning. When I became an actor, Mum wasn’t keen on me keeping it. ‘They’ll be after you for money,’ she used to say.”
    By “they” he means the descendants of Britain’s slave trade. “There are lots of Cumberbatches in our former Caribbean colonies,” he says. “When their ancestors lost their African names, they called themselves after their masters. Reparation cases are ongoing in the American courts. I’ve got friends involved in researching this scar on human history and I’ve spoken to them about it. The issue of how far you should be willing to atone is interesting. I mean, it’s not as if I’m making a profit from the suffering — it’s not like it’s Nazi money.” But the Cumberbatches, he thinks, were “pretty dodgy”.
    Wow. There I was, ready to ask: “How’s your mum looking these days?” Here Cumberbatch is, ‘fessing up to a dark family secret. But the acting world turns strangely. Cumberbatch, in his professional life to date, has already impersonated William Pitt the Younger in the film Amazing Grace about the campaign to end the slave trade. “Maybe I was trying to right a wrong there,” he says with an edgy smile.

    Benedict Cumberbatch played a sympathetic slaveowner in the Oscar-nominated film 12 Years a Slave. Via AP Photo/Fox Searchlight, Jaap Buit
    http://www.buzzfeed.com/ellievhall/n...ba#.ar5LYypVvQ
    More here:- How Benedict Cumberbatch's family made a fortune from slavery: And why his roles in films like 12 Years A Slave are a bid to atone for their sins | Daily Mail Online
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    A*O
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    You can't impose modern, enlightened moral or social standards to what was considered perfectly normal and legal 300 years ago. There are just as many families today whose future generations will be enjoying wealth based on the drugs trade, human trafficking or porno empires.
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    Elite Member faithanne's Avatar
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    Even little old Aussie me, whose family has been here since convict times, has slave-owning ancestors from North Carolina. I felt sick when I discovered it but I don't feel guilty, just ashamed.
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    Elite Member NickiDrea's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by A*O View Post
    You can't impose modern, enlightened moral or social standards to what was considered perfectly normal and legal 300 years ago. There are just as many families today whose future generations will be enjoying wealth based on the drugs trade, human trafficking or porno empires.
    This I do not agree with- at all. There were plenty of people even then who recognized that slavery was immoral and unethical. Maybe I'm too close to the situation as my great grandfather was born into slavery and my dad actually had a family member who he met who was born into slavery (1950s). Plus my dad's side of the family suffered greatly post-slavery during Jim Crow.

    Saying (essentially) that we can't judge today because it was ok back then is brushing slavery off to me. In my opinion it's no different than saying that you can't judge Nazis for exterminating Jews during the Holocaust because it was "acceptable" in their eyes to do so during the War.

    Also- slavery may have ended 300 years ago but Jim Crow started immediately and was also legal. I'll be damned if I can't impose my current ethical standards on Jim Crow which existed to continue the status of blacks as essentially slaves and only ended about 60 years ago.
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    A*O
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    My x6 great grandfather was a Jamaican slave fathered by his mother's owner. He then led a slave rebellion and was hanged for it. William Gordon, Google it. I trust that establishes my credentials? We all have shameful family secrets, trying to censor them doesn't mean it didn't happen or we shouldn't at least talk about it and maybe even learn something too?
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    Elite Member faithanne's Avatar
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    ^I agree, they still knew right from wrong and there were plenty of people who spoke out against slavery so it's not like they were totally ignorant. Another of my ancestors was close friends with the abolitionist William Wilberforce and shared his moral convictions (yet when he came to the colony he treated the aborigines and convicts harshly. I'm ashamed of him too).

    eta this was to nicki.

    eta again - a*o saying you have slaves in your very distant ancestry is hardly the same as living within a family that has been scarred for generations by the abomination that was slavery. I hardly think quoting "credentials" is appropriate. Just MHO.
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    Elite Member BITTER's Avatar
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    Just acknowledge it and be done with it, Ben.
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    A*O
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    I'm just saying that on first appearances I look very similar to my avatar (minus the dick most of the time) and so people might assume that under the PC rules as a typical "Anglo" I'm not allowed an opinion or to comment or to understand the issues. My black ancestry is so distant I certainly don't self-identify as "black" (unlike some other cultures I could mention but let's not go there) but being ashamed or embarrassed about it just reinforces a lot of the negative racism that still prevails.

    My ancestor had a white owner/father and a black/slave mother. I'm not ashamed of either of them because without them I wouldn't be here today. I bet if people dug into their family histories they'd find similar stories and they should be celebrated and learnt from, even the unpleasant stuff, rather than airbrushed from the family story.
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    Elite Member BITTER's Avatar
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    I'm wondering if, just if, he wants this part of his family's history downplayed because he may be feeling guilty about his own racism. YMMV, as they say, but I'm putting it out there.
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    ^I certainly don't airbrush my family's murky past because they're the reason I'm here today, and while I'm proud of the contributions made by some of my ancestors through the toil of the convicts and the struggle of the pioneers and the miners, I'm ashamed that the flip side, where the other branch of the family built up wealth and position through the sweat and blood of the men brought in chains to work the harsh land, the land they took from the original inhabitants, yeah I'm ashamed of that. But I don't deny it's true.
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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    I just don't get Affleck's issue with this. He obviously didn't own slaves and none of us are responsible for what our ancestors have done. Why try to hide it.

    Many Americans, if their families go back here far enough will have slave owners in the tree. Many people all over the world would too, if you go back a bit further. While American slavery is the most recent example different people throughout history had slaves. I believe it's mentioned in the bible, some guy named Moses. My ancient Roman ancestors certainly had slaves. The Greeks definitely did, etc.
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    The most fascinating episodes of the original British Who Do You Think You Are? are when people discover scandals in their family's past. Two off the top of my head are Kim Cattrall and Martin Freeman. Kim's grandfather abandoned the family and started an entirely new one that her mother and aunts had never known about, and the show tracked them down. Martin Freeman discovered his grandfather had been a medic killed in the Battle of Dunkirk, and his great-grandfather had been blind and educated at a progressive school where he was taught to be a musician. He went on to be a church organist and had a large family. Then some unknown scandal happened and records showed the guy was fired and forced to leave the village. His wife died and he married two more times, the last to Martin's great-grandmother, who had also been blinded by syphilis she contracted as a baby from her mother. Then she RE-contracted syphilis from her husband and lost six children because of it.
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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    I'm still waiting for the Johnny Depp one where the big reveal supposedly is that one of his ancestors owned soap.

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