PBS has informed member stations that, despite yesterday’s apology by Henry Louis Gates Jr. and executive producer Dyllan McGee, it is pressing ahead with its investigation into Finding Your Roots’ presentation of Ben Affleck’s family tree.
In a statement issued after PBS and show producing station WNET announced they had launched their investigation, Gates and McGee apologized to PBS and member stations and promised that “moving forward, we are committed to an increased level of transparency with our co-producing partners” and “respect PBS guidelines and understand our obligation to maintain editorial integrity at all times.” Gates’ apology came as Affleck went ahead and named his slave-owning ancestor; earlier he’d acknowledged asking for the edit because he was “embarrassed” by the discovery.
“We are glad to see this apology and acknowledgement of the failure to disclose Mr. Affleck’s request to WNET and PBS and re-affirmation that they respect and understand PBS’ editorial guidelines,” PBS programming chief Beth Hoppe and VP Corporate Communications Anne Bentley said in a statement.
Even so, PBS and WNET are continuing their internal review, Hoppe and Bentley said, noting, “It is in everyone’s interest that we move quickly to bring the internal review to completion, but we also want to ensure that we are being thorough.”
PBS is committed to working with all producers and member stations “to assure adherence to the editorial guidelines for work that appears on PBS,” they added.