Just when we all though the fallout from the Sony hacks was over, WikiLeaks made is super easy to find just about anything by posting the emails in their entirety along with a search function. The latest? Ben Affleck asked PBS genealogy show Finding Your Roots to remove a slave-holding ancestor from the episode.
The show's host, Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., emailed Sony chief Michael Lynton after Affleck asked PBS to edit out the less-than-desirable character. Obviously, finding out your great-great-great-great grandfather owned slaves is not something you're going to be super proud about, but unfortunately it's a situation many Americans would find themselves in if they took a closer look at their own family tree.
Gates points out that is in fact the case on this season of Finding Your Roots—Anderson Cooper discovered he not only had a slaveholding ancestor, but the guy was so awful, he was murdered by one of his slaves who was then inevitably hanged himself. Gates was also concerned that censoring such information would damage the network's credibility; it's known for reliable, in-depth documentaries from people like Ken Burns (who also found a slave holder in his family tree).
"We've never had anyone ever try to censor or edit what we found. He's a megastar. What do we do?" Gates wrote to Lynton. The Sony exec told him to do it anyway.
"I would take it out if no one knows, but if it gets out that you are editing the material based on this kind of sensitivity then it gets tricky," Lynton replied. "Again, all things being equal I would definitely take it out,"