Published: Tue, December 27, 2016
Economy | By Melissa Porter

A&E Is Ditching Plans for Documentary Series on the KKK

Executives at A&E network have chose to cancel its "Generation KKK" documentary after discovering the interview subjects participating in the project were compensated "nominal" payments by third-party field producers.

In a statement released on Christmas Eve, an A&E spokesman said the network learned that the show's producers - from a third-party production company - made cash payments to "facilitate access" to participants, which violates A&E policy.

"We have decided not to move forward with this project", A&E's statement said.

"A&E learned last night from the third-party producers who made the documentary that cash payments - which we now understand to be nominal - were made in the field to some participants in order to facilitate access", the network said in a statement Saturday.

While "bummed out" by the decision to cancel a show meant to serve as a close look at anti-hate extractors focused on helping people leave the group, Michaelis said he stood by the work the film-makers did during the making of the series. "Just because this particular show goes away, the issues of hate in America do not", the statement read.

"The documentary Escaping the KKK was meant to serve as a close look at anti-hate extractors focused on helping people leave the Ku Klux Klan-the racist hate group with a long history of violence against African Americans and others", the A&E statement continued.

After the series was announced, the network was heavily criticized, as some felt the series would unintentionally normalize the KKK. So I definitely get why they made the call to ax the show altogether.

"Escaping the KKK" follows individuals and families trying to extract themselves from the racist and anti-Semitic hate group.

The channel said it will continue to work with the civil rights community to combat hate through serious dialogue, education and outreach. The story noted that the controversial series, which was ordered about a year and a half ago, caused some "soul-searching" in the A&E executive ranks.

There were 190 registered Klan chapters in the United States in 2015 - more than twice the 72 chapters accounted for in 2014, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Before that decision was taken, A&E's Sharenow said he believed it was the network's obligation to "shine a light on things that aren't really looked at".

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