A&E has officially announced that it won’t be airing its controversy-inspiring docu-series Escaping the KKK.
Deadline reports that the network’s decision comes after it discovered that “third-party producers” had made “nominal” payments for access to some of the people featured in the series, which is in direct violation of A&E’s ethics policies.
“While we stand by 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,” A&E said in a statement. “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 series sparked controversy almost immediately upon its announcement on December 18th under its original title Generation KKK. Those opposed to the series voiced concern that it would give a sympathetic look at the KKK, due to the generic title and the fact that it would also include a focus on families of KKK members. As damage control A&E and the series’ producers released statements clarifying their intent to combat hateful rhetoric and focus on family members attempting to escape the KKK. A&E also partnered up with civil rights organization Color of Change and the ADL, and changed the title of the series to Escaping the KKK: A Documentary Series Exposing Hate in America.
“A&E takes the authenticity of its documentary programming and the subject of racism, hatred and violence very seriously,” the statement says. “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.”