A&E Argues KKK Docuseries Exposes Hate, Critics Say It Mainstreams It

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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:

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Notable Replies

  1. Having not seen it yet, I’ll hold my judgement in abeyance. However, I’d say “Tiaras and Terrible Mothers”, or whatever that show was called, did blessedly little to mainstream that nauseating spectacle. So I’ll hope the results are duplicated in this case too.

  2. This should be a big hit for A&E based on everything I have seen for the last 2 years in this country. Embedded my ass - they put lights on them, they staged them, they put make-up on them, they asked them to repeat lines they thought were most dramatic - it is a fucking reality show. I hope they prove me wrong but just looking at that phony ass picture and logo I am getting very nauseous. WTF???

  3. This will have the exact same effect as “Honey Boo Boo” and “Tiaras and Toddlers” did, to glamorize destructive behavior and “normalize” it.
    This is a naked ploy by A&E to garner bigger numbers in the “Trump Voter” demographic which they have ALWAYS catered to anyway.
    After the networks saw how much money CBS and CNN made catering to that demographic, it was “everybody in the shit-pool! Thar’s Money in them thar Morons!”
    Lenin was right: “A capitalist will sell you the rope you hang him with.” (and give you a volume discount if you hang all his friends with him.)

  4. Criticizing an unaired documentary before you’ve had the chance to see it. How very open minded you are.

  5. The issue, IMO, is that of sympathetic storytelling.

    Doing a straight up historical documentary on any group is one thing. But, it sounds as if this leaps from objective documentation to sympathetic presentation. There is NO sympathy to be given to hate groups. None. Portraying them as just another group that has an alternative way of approaching life is grotesque.

    @khaaannn: Nancy Dubuc, CEO of the network said something to the effect that this election proved the viability of their programming to groups that were underrepresented (i.e. Duck morons, American Hoggers) and that liberals looked down on these groups.

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