A&E’s upcoming docuseries Generation KKK will henceforth be known as the carefully spelled out Escaping the KKK: A Documentary Series Exposing Hate in America. Network announced name change today after getting major blowback about the series on social media.
Also announced, the network has partnered with civil rights org Color of Change on the project, in addition to its already announced partnership with Anti-Defamation League on the eight-parter.
The name change, decided upon and announced today is being done “to ensure that no one can mistake its intent and that the title alone does not serve to normalize the Klan,” the network said in today’s news. The new name, A&E said, “better reflects our longstanding intention and the content itself.
A PSA campaign is being produced with ADL which will be shown as interstitials during the telecasts, in which civil rights leaders will put into context what viewers are watching, A&E said. Color of Change will join ADL and A&E to develop viewer guides and educational curriculum.
Set to premiere Jan. 10, Generation KKK was unveiled this past Monday in an exclusive with the New York Times. It was described as a look at the lives of families involved with the hate group, and efforts by some family members to escape, also exploring how KKK indoctrinates and recruits children.
On social media, people blasted the network, and the New York Times, for “normalizing” the KKK. This despite tweets by some civil rights activists endorsing the project including New York Daily News senior justice writer/Black Lives Matter activist Jeffery Shaun King who tweeted:
Twenty four hours earlier, A&E defended its upcoming Ku Klux Klan docuseries, then still calling it Generation KKK, following a slew of angry tweets about the project from Grey’s Anatomy star Ellen Pompeo.
Pompeo wasted no words expressing her distaste for the upcoming eight-part show. In a series of tweets, she suggested boycotting A&E over the docuseries and called network execs “desperate” and “pathetic.”
The docuseries, which was announced Monday, follows four prominent Klan families who have a relative trying to escape the KKK, according to A&E. The network says it “pulls back the curtain” on the organization that the Anti-Defamation League calls “a racist, anti-Semitic movement with a commitment to extreme violence to achieve its goals of racial segregation and white supremacy,” to show its effects on American families as members grapple with the consequences of leaving.
A&E tweeted in response to Pompeo’s criticism, saying the docuseries is about “extracting families from the KKK & exposing hate” and noting it has the support of the ADL, with which the network said it worked closely on the project.
“Okay if that is what it is PLEASE promote it as such,” Pompeo snapped back in response.
ADL chief had tweeted: