In the recent slew of Sony emails published on WikiLeaks, it was revealed that Ben Affleck, after appearing on Henry Louis “Skip” Gates Jr.’s Finding Your Roots, asked the PBS show to suppress newly discovered information about his ancestors owning slaves. (Gates obliged.) Yesterday, Affleck released a Facebook message explaining himself.
“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,” he began, continuing:
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.
You’re right on one thing, Ben. Family IS embarrassing. Almost as embarrassing as editing out pertinent information about your lineage on a show about heritage that you—as you said—willingly participated in.
Mo’Nique recently went on Sway in the Morning, bringing with her emails that she says prove that Lee Daniels first offered the role of Cookie Lyon on Empire.
“...People were making it seem like I was pulling something out the air and I was just trying to attack this brother,” she told Sway. “I’m like ‘Guys, I have the e-mails, the communication going back and forth with Lee Daniels. It was a conversation we had and then I get the e-mail from his office, ‘Mo’Nique and Lee had a conversation about the role of Cookie.’ And all I was saying was don’t attack my character, just say what the conversation was. It makes no one look good or bad, it just was what it was.” [Madame Noir]
In what might be the best and most absurd celebrity lawsuit in recent memory, Mila Kunis is being sued by Kristina Karo, a Ukrainian woman (who claims to be Kunis’ childhood best friend) for stealing her beloved pet chicken, Doggie.
TMZ reports that:
...One day Doggie disappeared, and Kristina says Mila confessed that she stole it, saying, “Kristina, you can have any other chicken as a pet, you have a whole chicken farm.”
Kristina says in her lawsuit she became an emotional wreck and went into therapy.
Years passed, Mila moved to L.A. and became a big star. Kristina also eventually moved to L.A. to pursue a singing career. But the proximity brought back all the bad memories, and Kristina says the visions of Doggie being stolen by her former best friend threw her right back into therapy.
Kristina now needs shrink money, and a little extra for all the emotional distress ... in all, $5k.
All of this allegedly happened when Kristina and Mila were 6 years old. [TMZ]
- Gwyneth Paltrow has officially filed for divorce from Chris Martin. [US Weekly]
- Whereas divorce is “closer than ever” for Nicole Richie and Joel Madden. [OK!]
- Both Stanley Tucci and Ewan McGregor have joined the cast of Beauty and the Beast. [Just Jared/Just Jared]
- Madonna wasn’t texting during that performance of Hamilton, says Madonna. [US Weekly]
- Dance Moms’ Abby Lee Miller got “secret” lap band surgery. [OK!]
- Newly (one) directionless Zayn Malik might make the jump into movies. [ONTD]
- Wayne Coyne did not breakup Miley Cyrus and Patrick Schwarzenegger, but—ughhh—imagine if he did. [Gossip Cop]
- Added to the list of things Rihanna doesn’t “give a dick about:” Privacy. [E! Online]
- Like any grown woman with sense, Zooey Deschanel would not describe herself as “adorkable.” [US Weekly]
Photos via Getty.