A&E’s has changed the title of its controversial documentary series “Generation KKK” after receiving accusations that it was “normalizing” white supremacy.
The series, which premieres on Jan. 10, is now titled “Escaping the KKK: A Documentary Series Exposing Hate in America.” The network says the new title “better reflects our longstanding intention and the content itself.”
“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 network said.
Additionally, A&E has teamed with the African-American civil rights organization Color of Change to produce in-show content between segments to contextual what is being shown on air. The new partnership comes in addition to a previous partnership with the Anti-Defamation League, who called the show “a laudable effort to understand and expose the Ku Klux Klan from the inside out.”
The docuseries came under fire last week, when “The Wire” actor Wendell Pierce and other Twitter users asked for a boycott of the network and all of its sponsors, calling the show “abhorrent” before it even aired.
However, others who had seen the series came to its defense, including civil rights activist Shaun King. “It was clear that it was NOT them normalizing racism & bigotry, but exposing it,” King wrote about the premiere episode he was given to screen by the network.
Read the full statements from Rob Sharenow, EVP and General Manager of A&E and Lifetime and Rashad Robinson, the executive director of Color of Change:
Rob Sharenow, Executive Vice President & General Manager of A&E and Lifetime:
“We are glad to have some of the country’s leading civil rights organizations, including the ADL, Color of Change and others as partners in this effort, and look forward to working together to impact hate in America. We feel that this new title and enhanced partnerships, the in-show and after-show components and our outreach plan more broadly reflect the existing anti-hate content of the series and our longstanding intention. That goal is to expose and combat racism and hatred in all its forms and we appreciate the valuable feedback we have received.”
Rashad Robinson, Executive Director of Color of Change:
“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. Black communities know all too well how perpetuating stereotypes and hateful rhetoric can empower a racist and violent agenda. At Color Of Change we recognize the power of TV and media images and our work is rooted in creating a less harmful and hostile world for Black people and all people. We look forward to seeing updated content that adds further context to the episodes, and working closely with A&E on programming that articulates the network’s intention of reversing racial hatred and violence, as well as finding ways to work with A&E and anyone else to end the rise of white supremacy and the hateful and violent tactics of the organizations that advance this ideology.”