‘Generation KKK’ Cancelled By A&E Amid Controversy
A&E has canceled their upcoming docuseries surrounding the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) after extensive public outcry and controversy.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the network made the announcement that they were scrapping the project, which was ordered for eight episodes and scheduled to air on January 10, in a statement on Saturday.
The new series “Generation KKK” burrows in with high-ranking Klan members and their families https://t.co/Xb3mb1OdOG pic.twitter.com/LLbZgslk0m
— New York Times Arts (@nytimesarts) December 18, 2016
“Our goal with this series has always been to expose and combat racism and hatred in all its forms,” the statement read. “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.”
“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.”
New A&E Reality TV Show ‘Generation KKK’ Causes Controversy – https://t.co/C24avvYd1E
— Reality Talent (@RealityTalent7) December 22, 2016
The trailer for the docuseries, which was described as focusing on four prominent KKK families, each of which had a member trying to escape the organization, was originally on YouTube, but has since been taken down. However, the New York Times described the opening scene, which showed a father giving his daughter the pointed hoods worn by the KKK members.
“Girls, I got y’all some gifts,” Steven Howard can be heard saying as he hands his daughters the gifts.
“Giving my girls my legacy,” he added as he helped them put the hoods on their heads.
‘Generation KKK’ follows Ku Klux Klan members for a reality TV show – https://t.co/jDrmbRWCYc
— Reality Talent (@RealityTalent7) December 19, 2016
On Friday, the network tried to appease those who were concerned about the ethical aspects of the show by changing the name from Generation KKK to Escaping the KKK: A Documentary Series Exposing Hate in America. The changing of the name was also “to ensure that no one can mistake its intent and that the title alone does not serve to normalize the Klan,” according to the Washington Post. A&E also partnered with the Anti-Defamation League and Color of Change, which are both civil rights organizations that were preparing to create viewer guides and an educational curriculum to go along with the docuseries.
Despite the changes, A&E ultimately made the decision to pull the show, which had been in the works for over a year and a half, before ever airing the first episode. The decision was made, not only because of the criticism, but also because the production company This is Just a Test, or someone they had hired, made payments to a hate group.
Do you think A&E should have continued with the controversial show, or do you agree with their decision to pull it? Leave your comments below.
[Featured Image by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images]