Ben Affleck tried to sell his sprawling Greek Revival ‘imitation’ plantation – the site of his elaborate wedding with Jennifer Lopez on Saturday – three years after revelations surfaced that one of his ancestors was a slave-owning Georgian sheriff.
In 2015, the Hollywood actor tried deleting the details about Benjamin Cole, a relative on his mother’s side who owned several slaves in Chatham County, near his 87-acre property on Hampton Island. Affleck bought the property in 2003, according to reports.
The revelations about Cole were made on PBS’ “Finding Your Roots” hosted by Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.
Affleck put the lavish property, which includes a deep-water harbor and a 6,000-square-foot home known as “the Big House,” on the market for $8.9 million in 2018. He lowered the priced at $7.6 million the following year before taking it off the market, according to property records.
Built in 2000, the property was designed by Atlanta-based architect James Strickland to resemble a southern plantation. It also includes a 10,000 square foot guest house and equestrian facilities.
Actors Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds courted controversy when they married in a plantation-style home. A slavery expert said she was shocked that Affleck and Lopez decided to have such a splashy wedding in a plantation-style house.
“When he found out who his ancestors were, he tried to smother him,” said Leslie Harris, co-editor of “Slavery and Freedom in Savannah” and professor of history at Northwestern University. “It is clear that he has not learned the lesson. We are back in the same place with him. People are still building plantation-style homes. It is a sign of wealth. It’s surprising that Affleck chose this location for his wedding when many (historic) plantations have even stopped holding weddings.”
There were more than 46,000 plantations in operation in 1860 in the southern United States, and nearly 4 million slaves in the United States, including 2.5 million in the “cotton belt” alone. Today there are approx. 375 plantation museums in the United States, most of which do not organize weddings, according to a report.
Many large wedding companies have taken steps to distance themselves from planting venues. In 2019, several wedding planning sites like Pinterest, The Knot and Zola, pledged to stop promoting plantation weddings and using language that romances them.
Affleck said he fell in love with the area while filming ‘Forces of Nature’ with actress Sandra Bullock in the late 1990s. He bought the property for $7.11 million, records show. public.