Affleck’s 87-acre, plantation-style Riceboro, Georgia, residence was built in 2000 and has been labeled architecturally as an “imitation” plantation and purchased three years later by Affleck. According to the Daily Mail, “The property was originally home to a ‘thriving’ rice plantation known as Hampton Pastures and was owned by Roswell King. The plantation was worked by slaves and Creek Indians, and the property dates back to before the Civil War.”
It’s also noted that “the living quarters for the plantation’s slaves were on the very same island the house is on, and an unmarked slave graveyard is located somewhere on the property.”
The eventful day did not sit well with many critics on social media, most of whom are members of the Black community. It’s best to note that the Grammy Award-winner is of Puerto Rican descent and has publicly identified herself as a Latina woman.
The decision to hold the ceremony on the estate despite its problematic history stunned and frustrated many, including one Twitter user who wrote, “Happy for Ben & Jennifer, but they clearly do not have any friends in their lives who would knock some sense into them and tell them to NOT GET MARRIED AT A DAMN PLANTATION!” They added, “Seriously, you two couldn’t have gotten married at Dunkin’ Donuts headquarters instead?”
The commentary only got worse from there on out. “Jennifer Lopez, a high-profile appropriator, married Ben Affleck (a man with a known slave-owning ancestry) on a mock slave-plantation. One can only hope that the African-American men who enabled her get it now,” another person commented.
“So, let me get this right. Ben Affleck purchased a home designed to resemble a plantation house. Then, years later finds out one of his ancestors owned enslaved people. He tries to sell the house but marries Jennifer Lopez in the same imitation plantation house this weekend.”
The “Gone Girl” star made several attempts to try and sell the home. First in 2015 after it was revealed in PBS’s “Finding Your Roots” series that one of his ancestors, a Georgia sheriff by the name of Benjamin Cole, owned slaves. An email hack showed that Affleck pressured the show producer to have that piece of information censored from the show, which he was successful at doing.
Leslie M. Harris, a history and African-American studies professor at Northwestern University, told Page Six, “It’s clear he didn’t learn his lesson. We’re back at the same place with him. People still build houses that are plantation style. It’s a sign of wealth. It’s surprising that Affleck would choose this place for his wedding when many (historic) plantations have stopped even having weddings.”