3:25pm PT by Michael O'Connell
A&E Embeds With KKK for New Documentary Series
A&E is pulling back the hood on several prominent members of the Ku Klux Klan.
The cable network, on a buying spree of serious-minded documentary fare of late, has embedded cameras with the KKK over the past year in an effort to facilitate a dialogue between a handful of leaders in the hate group and members of their family who want out. Sources confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that the cable player has handed out an eight-episode order to Generation KKK, set to premiere in January.
Unlike members of the "alt right," the KKK has been anything but subtle about its vocal racism. The Anti-Defamation League calls the organization “a racist, anti-Semitic movement with a commitment to extreme violence to achieve its goals of racial segregation and white supremacy." The project comes from This Is Just a Test (TIJAT), the production company that went to A&E with the idea more than a year ago.
To say that the series' arrival is timely would be an understatement. The racial divide and white nationalism have been among the bigger themes to emerge from the recent election. David Duke, a former Klan leader and perhaps one of the most outspoken racists in America, was a vocal Donald Trump supporter and has called his presidential victory a win for "his people."
Subjects include an “Imperial Wizard” trying to recruit his daughter into the KKK, an Iraq war veteran indoctrinating his 4-year-old son with racist rhetoric and a fifth-generation Klan family trying to recruit a close family friend. There are no obscured faces or changed names, as has been traditional when the group appears in film and TV — members of the KKK who participated gave full permission.
A&E, which gained attention in recent years with Duck Dynasty, has been making a concerted push into more hard-hitting documentary fare of late. Generation KKK follows Leah Remini's Scientology exposé, cop-centric Live PD and Emmy winner Born This Way about adults with Down Syndrome.
Generation KKK also comes at a time when reports of hate crimes in the U.S. are on the rise. In an effort to shine a light on mounting racism in America, the series also includes members of One People's Project, an anti-hate activism group that uses reformed hate-group members to speak with Klan families about changing their ways.
The news was first reported by The New York Times.