A&E Cancels Controversial KKK Documentary Series

UPDATE 12/24, 3:00 PM - The Hollywood Reporter has reported that the series has been canceled by A&E. 

The reason for the cancellation comes not just from the controversial subject matter, but the reveal that producers of the series paid participants cash for access into the hate group. The statement from A&E read, "Our goal with this series has always been to expose and combat racism and hatred in all its forms. However, A&E learned last night from the third-party producers who made the documentary that cash payments — which we currently understand to be nominal — were made in the field to some participants in order to facilitate access. While we stand behind the intent of the series and the seriousness of the content, these payments are a direct violation of A&E’s policies and practices for a documentary. We had previously provided assurances to the public and to our core partners — including the Anti-Defamation League and Color of Change — that no payment was made to hate group members, and we believed that to be the case at the time. We have now decided not to move forward with airing this project."

The statement continued, "A&E takes the authenticity of its documentary programming and the subject of racism, hatred and violence very seriously. Just because this particular show goes away, the issues of hate in America do not. We will still seek to fight hate in America through on-air programming including town halls and documentary programs produced in partnership with civil rights organizations, as well as continue to work with the civil rights community to facilitate a deeper dialogue on ending hate through comprehensive educational and outreach campaigns."

Steeped in controversy ever since it was announced, the cancelation comes merely a week after it was announced and hours after the very first trailer debuted.

[H/T The Hollywood Reporter]

 

Coming to A&E in January is the eight-part documentary series Escaping the KKK: A Documentary Series Exposing Hate in America and the first glimpse at the powerful series has arrived.

WARNING: The below video contains graphic and hateful language and imagery.

The documentary series has already received backlash, as the original name for the series was merely "Generation KKK." Realizing how that name normalizes the hate group, the network changed the name to more accurately reflect the subject matter. Rob Sharenow, Executive Vice President & General Manager of A&E and Lifetime, says the series aims “to expose and combat racism and hatred in all its forms.”

A&E released a statement about the name change, saying, “In consultation with our partners at the ADL [Anti-Defamation League] and Color of Change, the network is changing the name of the show to ensure that no one can mistake its intent and that the title alone does not serve to normalize the Klan.”

A&E added, “The new title: Escaping the KKK: A Documentary Series Exposing Hate in America better reflects our longstanding intention and the content itself.”

The series documents proud families within the Ku Klux Klan, as well as families attempting to escape the hateful lifestyle, and activists working to break the cycle of hatred. 

The series debuts on January 10, 2017 at 10:00 PM ET on A&E.

[H/T Entertainment Weekly]