Controversial Klan Series Canceled by A&E

A&E canceled its controversial docuseries Escaping the KKK because producers made payments to some of the participants in the show.

The show was scheduled to debut Jan 10.

The coverage being given to hate groups alarmed some viewers and civil rights groups, and A&E had assured the Anti-Defamation League and Color of Change that no payment was made to hate group members. “We believed that to be the case at the time. We have now decided not to move forward with this project,” the network said in a statement.

A&E said the documentary was intended to focus on people who help people leave the Ku Klux Klan. “Our goal with this series has always been to expose and combat racism and hatred in all its forms," the network said.

The ADL and Color of Change had agreed to work with A&E to make sure the documentary was seen in the correct context. The groups were going to participate in public service campaigns and town meetings to discuss the issues of racism and hate.

The documentary series was originally entitled Generation KKK, but that was changed to ensure that Klan membership wasn’t being “normalized” by the program, the network said.

"A&E takes the authenticity of its documentary programming and the subject of racism, hatred and violence very seriously,” the network added in its statement. “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.”

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.