Fight Club and Glass Onion actor, Norton is an upcoming guest on the PBS show Finding Your Roots, which delves into a celebrity’s family tree. In an exclusive preview clip given to Newsweek, the actor is seen reacting to the news that his ancestors owned a family of slaves that included five little girls.
Norton is shown a picture of a 55-year-old man, a 37-year-old woman and five girls aged 10, 9, 8, 6 and 4. Host Henry Louis Gates Jr. informs Norton that they were all owned as slaves.
“What’s it like to see that?” Gates Jr. asked Norton.
“The short answer is, these things are uncomfortable, and you should be uncomfortable with them. Everybody should be uncomfortable with it,” Norton replied. “It’s not a judgment on you and your own life but it’s a judgment on the history of this country.
“It needs to be acknowledged first and foremost, and then it needs to be contended with.”
It’s unclear from the preview clip what relation the slave owners are to Norton, when the picture was taken or where in America it was. It is known, however, that Norton is a descendant of the wealthy Rouse family. His grandfather was businessman and founder of The Rouse Company, James Rouse, while his great-grandfather was Maryland-based attorney and businessman William Goldsmith Rouse. Other members of the family, Willard Rouse II and Willard Rouse III were both wealthy real estate developers.
Norton continued his assessment of his ancestry on Finding Your Roots.