The announcement of a new A&E documentary series about modern-day members of the Ku Klux Klan has been met with a mixed reception.
While network executives and industry publications claim the show, “Generation KKK” is a “timely” exposé of the KKK’s ideology, critics charge that an eight-part series on a well-known hate group only serves to normalize their views.
For the show, which will begin airing on Jan. 10, an A&E crew spent a year embedded with a number of high-ranking Klan members and their families in order to understand how racism and anti-Semitism is passed through generations. The Anti-Defamation League worked with the network on the series, and filmmakers also interviewed anti-hate activists who try to encourage profiled subjects to leave the Klan behind.
“We certainly didn’t want the show to be seen as a platform for the views of the KKK,” A&E general manager Rob Sharenow told The New York Times. “The only political agenda is that we really do stand against hate.”
Sharenow told the Times that work on “Generation KKK” began more than a year and a half ago, just before the start of a presidential election that spurred a surge of white nationalism and granted new prominence to the so-called “alt-right,” a loosely organized group of neo-Nazis, racists and misogynists. Given this background, critics of the show say that a family-focused, behind-the-scenes look at one of the most notorious white supremacist terrorist groups in the U.S. just gives the KKK a national platform to spout hate.
Read some of their comments below:
There should be an immediate boycott of A&E and all of its sponsors as they normalize the KKK with a reality series. Abhorrent
— Wendell Pierce (@WendellPierce) December 19, 2016
I’m so old, I remember when America was ashamed of its racists. Now we reward them with shows like Generation KKK. https://t.co/tO1HYwTFYX
— (((Jeff Tiedrich))) (@jefftiedrich) December 19, 2016
a+e is doing a tv series called “generation kkk” https://t.co/Wl9EGfzEQi would @AETV do a tv series on al qaeda? the kkk is a terrorist org
— Oliver Willis (@owillis) December 19, 2016
Dear @AETV & @nytimesarts, I’m absolutely horrified that you would produce Generation KKK & that NYT would review as if this is all normal.
— Ellen Oh (@ElloEllenOh) December 19, 2016
Is A&E’s new series #GenerationKKK fighting white supremacy or normalizing it? Because we are not down with that. https://t.co/jGvwJ4oLAn pic.twitter.com/LXOWktVpNQ
— Occupy Wall Street (@OccupyWallStNYC) December 20, 2016