A&E recently drew some controversy with the announcement of Generation KKK, a documentary series about the recent resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan. Given the non-judgmental title, some people assumed the series would be some kind of reality show about the wacky men and women who just happen to be part of the infamous hate group. Combined with the election of Donald Trump (the candidate endorsed by the official newspaper of the KKK), this all seemed way too much like an overall attempt to normalize white supremacy.
Today, the network stepped forward to vehemently reject that perspective, announcing that it would not only change the name of the documentary series—from Generation KKK to the far-less ambiguous Escaping The KKK: A Documentary Series Exposing Hate In America—but also that it will be partnering with a number of civil-rights groups to “help provide context to the documentary.” That comes from Variety, which says the organization known as Color Of Change will produce segments about civil-rights leaders to air alongside the series, and A&E will also produce “a post-show town hall special on ending hate in America.” This is in addition to A&E’s existing partnerships with the NAACP, the Anti-Defamation League, and Black Lives Matter.
One of the major concerns that A&E has been facing is that the participants in the series—as in, active Klan members—were paid for their contributions under a typical reality show contract. Actor Wendell Pierce called for a boycott on Twitter, but he walked that back a little bit after being assured by the network that it will be a documentary series and not a reality show. (He still thinks A&E needs to assure the public that it’s not paying the KKK, though.)
Escaping The KKK will premiere on January 10.