I said in August of 2013 that Ben Affleck’s political activism would derail the ability of many people to see Batman v Superman with an open mind. The actor would go on to insult Republican moviegoers by December. He then disappeared to make Gone Girl, only to almost break down into tears while discussing radical Islam with Bill Maher in October, 2014. Mr. Affleck is now in the news with another embarrassing story: he pressured PBS to censor his slave-owning ancestry while filming PBS’s Finding Your Roots series.
USA Today reported April 19 on the newest Wikileaks revelation:
The emails between Finding Your Roots host Henry Louis Gates and Sony chief executive Michael Lynton show Gates’ dealing with the issue of featuring the slave-owning portion of Affleck’s past on the popular PBS program.
“Here’s my dilemma: confidentially, 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’ leaked email states. ” Now, four or five of our guests this season descend from slave owners, including Ken Burns. We’ve never had anyone ever try to censor or edit what we found. He’s a megastar. What do we do?” …
“Once we open the door to censorship, we lose control of the brand,” Gates writes in the emails, adding that he wouldn’t “demonize” the slave-owning ancestor.
“Now Anderson Cooper’s ancestor was a real s.o.b.; one of his slaves actually murdered him. Of course, the slave was promptly hanged. And Anderson didn’t miss a beat about that,” Gates writes.
The series ultimately did leave out Ben Affleck’s slave-owning ancestry, laughably saying “We decided to go with the story we used about his fascinating ancestor who became an occultist following the Civil War.” Sorry PBS, but now everyone knows that you have “lost control of the brand.”
A friend of mine asked why Ben Affleck would run from his history instead of embracing it. The answer once again ties back to the actor’s political activism.
Ben Affleck not only runs from history — he tries to revise it. He is the type of person who literally stops himself mid-sentence while saying Americans are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights to say that Americans are “endowed by our forefathers with certain inalienable rights.” Rights don’t come from God, according to Batman — they come from a small group of liberal guys like Ben Affleck in the nation’s capital.
Given that the Hollywood actor is a committed liberal, it’s a safe bet to say that on the right episode of “Real Time” with Bill Maher, he would be happy to lecture Americans on “white privilege.” It’s also likely that when cornered on constitutional debates, he would resort to the tried-and-true red herring that “the founding fathers had slaves” (as if a man’s flaws invalidate the timeless principles he espouses).
Ben Affleck knows that the knowledge of his slave-owning ancestry makes it near-impossible for him to spew spurious racial arguments with impunity. Bloggers like yours truly will always be able to joke, “You know what, Ben? You’re right! We need to do something about white privilege. Why don’t you lead the way by paying reparations to Americans whose ancestors were chained and whipped by Old Man Affleck.”
It is now apparent that Ben Affleck will act manipulatively behind the scenes like a wannabe Lex Luthor when his political activism is threatened. There is no reason for a man to hide from his family’s past unless it threatens to topple the moral pedestal he stands upon while lecturing the rest of us.
If PBS executives are smart, then they will release a version of Finding Your Roots where Ben Affleck is confronted about his slave-owning ancestry. Why would anyone want to watch a show titled “Finding Your Roots” when in reality it should be called “Finding the Roots that Hollywood Wants You To See”? They wouldn’t.
Word of advice for Zack Synder: Tell Ben Affleck to go into his own personal Batcave and not come out until it’s time to promote Batman v Superman. It’s hard to believe Ben Affleck is Bruce Wayne when every few months he strengthens the impression that he’s really just a pampered Hollywood activist.