The email making that request of Sony Pictures co-chairman and chief executive Michael Lynton didn’t come from Affleck or his representatives. It came directly from Gates, the Harvard professor and host. “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 wrote to Lynton on July 22 of last year, according to the leak. “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?”It is utterly unacceptable that Gates, one of the world’s foremost experts in the African diaspora, would capitulate to someone seeking to hide his family’s slaveholding past. Yes, it’s only a television show. That’s part of the problem.