A&E has come under fire after announcing its new docuseries, “Generation KKK,” which explores the recent resurgence of the hate group in the United States.
The eight-part series, which premieres January 10 and has received the “proud” endorsement of Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, has now been targeted by some stars and internet users fearing that a documentary depiction of the Ku Klux Klan might “normalize” hatred.
“The Wire” actor Wendell Pierce asked for a boycott of the network and all of its sponsors, while other Twitter users stated that any show about the KKK is “not OK.”
But civil rights activist Shaun King, who had seen a preview of the series’ first episode, wrote on Twitter, “It was clear that it was NOT them normalizing racism & bigotry, but exposing it.”
On Monday, A&E announced that it will launch the eight-part series, which follows four families: an “Imperial Wizard” who hopes to groom his teenage daughter to take his place; an Iraq war veteran and proud member of the Klan determined to raise his 4-year-old son to embrace his views; a young man who sees his close friend and KKK leader as the father he never had, asked to pledge his loyalty to the Klan; and a fifth-generation KKK family struggling to keep up the legacy.
“This series gives viewers an unprecedented look at what it is like to be born into hate. Our producers gained access to Klan families allowing for full immersion into this secret world and its impact on the next generation,” said Rob Sharenow, executive vice president and general manager of A&E and Lifetime. “‘Generation KKK’ brings viewers inside the places where hatred and prejudice are born and bred, and carried forward or not.”
A spokesperson for the network told TheWrap, “Generation KKK is a documentary series that exposes the ugly truth about how the hate group attempts to indoctrinate children. The series focuses on a team of activists working to prevent the next generation from continuing the cycle of hate. The documentary series takes a clear stance against hatred of any kind.”
“Generation KKK” premieres Jan. 10 at 10 p.m/9c on A&E.
Read some of the backlash below — as well as some of the show’s defenders. You can also watch the first seven minutes of the premiere episode above.
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
Time to boycott A & E. What the hey is Generation KKK?
— [ Go2HellTrump ] (@ctv556) December 20, 2016
The KKK murdered & terrorized thousands of African Americans from the 1866 to who knows when. This Generation KKK show is not ok @AETV
— Shashana (@1978BABY) December 19, 2016
When watching the preview episode of Generation KKK, it was clear that it was NOT them normalizing racism & bigotry, but exposing it.
— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) December 19, 2016
— Ellen Oh (@ElloEllenOh) December 19, 2016
I don't know why people are so surprised about that new show on #AETV. "Generation KKK" has been on the air for years. It's called Fox News
— Tariq Nasheed (@tariqnasheed) December 19, 2016
— Leslie T (@LeslieRTucker) December 20, 2016
@AETV WHY ARE YOU GIVING A VOICE TO HATE with your KKK Generation documentary? You should instead be showing how this hate damages others!
— Pam G. (@Megson310) December 20, 2016
In Trump's America, A&E creates a new tv series titled #GenerationKKK. ????????
— Bo (@VApoliticalnerd) December 20, 2016
— Skypp Cabanas (@SkyppC) December 20, 2016
— Ryan Smith (@mrsmithnyc) December 20, 2016
Generation KKK should not be a show. Highly disrespectful.
— misty's patience (@maulmall) December 20, 2016
— Jonathan Greenblatt (@JGreenblattADL) December 19, 2016
— David Johns (@MrDavidJohns) December 19, 2016