Grapevine: Celebrity news
Ben Affleck responds to genealogy controversy
Ben Affleck found himself at the center of a controversy surrounding his participation in the PBS series “Finding Your Roots.” News came out that the actor and director asked the show to leave out findings that one of his distant relatives was a slave owner. The public television network and local station (WNET) launched an investigation to determine if PBS’ editorial standards were observed. Meanwhile, Affleck took to his Facebook page to explain 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. 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.” He explained that he lobbied to the show runner to get the information about the slave-owning relative left out of the show and reminded his fans that “Finding Your Roots” “isn’t a news program.” He ended his statement saying he regretted his initial thoughts that the information be removed from the program. “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.”
Aretha’s White House Gospel concert to air on PBS
Aretha Franklin led an all-star Gospel concert at the White House as part of the “In Performance at the White House” series on April 14. The performance will air at 9 p.m. June 26 on PBS. The Queen of Soul was joined by the Williams Brothers for a performance of “Higher Ground” and closed with “Precious Memories.” Pastor Shirley Caesar, Darlene Love, Emmylou Harris, Lyle Lovett and Michelle Williams also made appearances.
Amy Schumer takes dive in front of Kim and Kanye
During the red carpet promenade for TIME’s 100 gala in New York, comedian Amy Schumer flung herself at the feet of reality star Kim Kardashian and her musician husband Kanye West, who performed at the event celebrating the magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people. Schumer told TIME that she asked her publicist if she could pretend to fall, and her publicist said “I can’t stop you,” so the Comedy Central star landed at their feet seemingly “in awe of the couple,” according to Entertainment Weekly. Her show, “Inside Amy Schumer,” premiered its third season Tuesday.
■Sandra Bullock was named People magazine’s 2015 Most Beautiful Woman. At age 50, she’s the oldest “most beautiful” honoree in the list’s 25-year history.
■Fred Armisen has joined the cast of “Zoolander 2.” The sequel, which also stars Ben Stiller, Will Ferrell and Owen Wilson, is scheduled to hit theaters in February, 15 years after the original film.
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George Lopez, 54
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Kal Penn, 38