A&E Generation KKK backlash prompts new title
Following an intense backlash over its KKK docu-series, A&E changed the title of Generation KKK.
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Following an intense backlash over its upcoming docuseries about the Ku Klux Klan, A&E announced Friday that Generation KKK is getting a title change and new partnership with African-American civil rights group Color of Change.
“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,” the network said in a statement. “The new title: Escaping the KKK: A Documentary Series Exposing Hate in America better reflects our longstanding intention and the content itself.”
But that’s just the beginning of the planned alterations.
A&E will also provide “in-show content” from civil rights leaders between segments of Escaping the KKK to add “further context to what viewers are seeing on air.” Elsewhere, a Town Hall-style show will be produced in order to “facilitate deeper dialogue about ending hate in America,” while Color of Change, ADL, and A&E will partner on viewer guides and educational curriculum around the subject matter.
The network first announced the series last Monday, noting it will follow several families inside the notorious hate group (and various members trying to get out). Complaints about Generation KKK spread online almost immediately, with Grey’s Anatomy star Ellen Pompeo one of the celebrities to call out the network for “giving ignorance a platform” and “capitalizing on a disgusting wave that Trump started and media is normalizing.”
Writing for The Daily Beast, Nick Schager — who received press screeners of the first four episodes — noted, “[Generation KKK] employs the formal format and devices of the channel’s other hits (Hoarders, Intervention) to transform its bigots into colorful characters, thereby placing them on the same plane as the rest of cable TV’s freaky reality stars. By situating them in a familiar faux-verité package, Generation KKK makes clear that these rancid people are just as suitable subjects for our entertainment as anyone else. In short: It legitimizes them.”
“We are glad to have some of the country’s leading civil rights organizations, including the ADL, Color of Change and others as partners in this effort, and look forward to working together to impact hate in America,” Rob Sharenow, Executive Vice President & General Manager of A&E and Lifetime, said in a statement. “We feel that this new title and enhanced partnerships, the in-show and after-show components, and our outreach plan more broadly reflect the existing anti-hate content of the series and our longstanding intention. That goal is to expose and combat racism and hatred in all its forms and we appreciate the valuable feedback we have received.”
Escaping the KKK: A Documentary Series Exposing Hate in America is set to premiere on Jan. 10 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on A&E.