The public broadcasting network put its “Finding Your Roots” series on hold Wednesday after determining an episode that omitted references to Ben Affleck’s ancestor as a slave owner violated its standards.
The public television service said it is postponing the show’s third season and delaying a commitment to a fourth year until it is satisfied with improvement in the show’s editorial guidelines.
PBS launched its investigation after it was reported that Affleck requested the program not reveal his ancestor’s slave-holding history in the 2014 episode. The Associated Press examined historical documents and found that Affleck’s great-great-great-grandfather owned 24 slaves.
The review found that co-producers violated PBS standards by allowing improper influence on the show’s editorial process and failed to inform PBS or producing station WNET of Affleck’s efforts to affect the program’s content.
In a statement, series host and executive producer Henry Louis Gates Jr. apologized for forcing PBS to defend the integrity of its programming. He said he’s working with public TV on new guidelines to ensure increased transparency.
Affleck’s request came to light last spring in hacked Sony emails published online by whistleblower site WikiLeaks.