After protests and general confusion, A&E has changed the name of its documentary series on the Ku Klux Klan, clarifying its goal is not "to normalize the Klan." The network also announced its partnerships with the Anti-Defamation League and the African American civil rights organization Color of Change.
On Dec. 21, "Grey's Anatomy" star Ellen Pompeo was one of many people to react with outrage at the show, then called "Generation KKK." A&E responded to her tweets to say the documentary series is about "extracting families from the KKK & exposing hate." Pompeo replied, "Okay if that is what it is PLEASE promote it as such...PLEASE."
Well, A&E just released a statement announcing the doc would now be called "Escaping the KKK: A Documentary Series Exposing Hate in America." (That's a lot longer than "Generation KKK" but certainly better explains the premise.)
"In consultation with our partners at the ADL and Color Of Change, the network is changing the name of the show to ensure that no one can mistake its intent and that the title alone does not serve to normalize the Klan. The new title, 'Escaping the KKK: A Documentary Series Exposing Hate in America,' better reflects our longstanding intention and the content itself."
So they're trying to make it clear the doc was always about exposing hate, the title and initial announcement just never made that clear to all.
Variety noted that the series had been endorsed by civil rights leaders associated with the NAACP, the ADL, and Black Lives Matter, but criticism of the series, "driven largely by people who had not seen it" still grew online, based potentially on misunderstandings of the content. But others still struggle to believe the network behind reality series like "Duck Dynasty" can be trusted to make a credible documentary on the KKK.
Color of Change executive director Rashad Robinson said, in a statement (via Variety):
"After reviewing the promotions and episodes and participating in substantive conversations with A&E executives, we are pleased to see that the network is taking seriously concerns that the show — newly titled 'Escaping the KKK: A Documentary Series Exposing Hate in America' — required important additional components — such as specific in-show educational context and content and a post-show town hall as we both want to work together to ensure that it did not normalize and humanize racism and white supremacy."
As part of its partnerships with ADL and Color of Change, TVLine added, "Escaping the KKK" will feature in-show content provided by civil rights leaders giving more context to what viewers see in the series. A&E also plans to air a Town Hall-style show to facilitate deeper dialogue about ending hate in America.
The newly renamed "Escaping the KKK: A Documentary Series Exposing Hate in America" premieres Tuesday, Jan. 10 at 10 p.m. on A&E.
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