The eight-part documentary series starts January 10, and the "Grey's Anatomy" star was one of many to reply with shock and anger at the news. Pompeo called for a full boycott of A&E, then A&E responded and tried to convince her the series is actually about "exposing hate and extracting families from the KKK."
Hey I have an idea...why don't we all never watch ANYTHING on A&E again who's with me????— Ellen Pompeo (@EllenPompeo) December 21, 2016
So I guess A&E stands for ...we will try to put Anything and Everything on tv... because we are a bunch of desperate pathetic tv execs 👍🏾— Ellen Pompeo (@EllenPompeo) December 21, 2016
We shouldn't be giving ignorance a platform we already did that this year and look what it got us https://t.co/kkl0bEYo2E— Ellen Pompeo (@EllenPompeo) December 21, 2016
The timing of this show angers me the most they are capitalizing on a disgusting wave that Trump started and media is normalizing NOT OK— Ellen Pompeo (@EllenPompeo) December 21, 2016
The network replied to Pompeo's "shame on you" tweet by defending the show's mission:
Her reply to that was cordial:
Okay if that is what it is PLEASE promote it as such...PLEASE https://t.co/q4j2EWaxyq— Ellen Pompeo (@EllenPompeo) December 21, 2016
Some fans argued that the series could be beneficial. As one wrote to Pompeo, "hate groups are on the rise. This documentary exposes that and helps people leave! #exposehate." Here's her reply:
Have they done one on Muslim extemism? https://t.co/gjHIHkAIKp— Ellen Pompeo (@EllenPompeo) December 21, 2016
According to the New York Times, A&E aimed to find a balance between winning the trust of the Klan members and ensuring the show didn't promote views the network executives abhor. "We certainly didn't want the show to be seen as a platform for the views of the KKK," Rob Sharenow, general manager of A&E, told the Times. "The only political agenda is that we really do stand against hate."
The Times added that, as the filmmakers sought to depict this relatively unseen world, they also incorporated the anti-hate activists Daryle Lamont Jenkins, Arno Michaelis, and Bryon Widner "as they tried to persuade members to leave the Klan — or at least to leave their children out of it."
So it isn't aiming to glamorize the KKK, but just the fact that the KKK is getting its own reality series is at least normalizing if not glamorizing it, as opposed to showcasing the many more positive and less destructive groups out there. But will a call to boycott A&E just lead to a backlash supporting A&E, the way so much "outrage" does these days?
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