The Imperial Wizard of the North Mississippi White Knights passes out red Klansmen hoods, and with adulation, declares that he hopes his daughter becomes the first woman Imperial Wizard.
This is the opening scene of a now-scrapped series documenting the lives of KKK members — an 8-part documentary that will see no airtime after it was discovered some of the participants from the hate group had been paid.
A&E dropped "Escaping the KKK: A Documentary Series Exposing Hate in America” Saturday after the network discovered members of the KKK on the soon-to-be reality T.V. show were paid by third-party producers.
"While we stand behind the intent of the series and the seriousness of the content, these payments are a direct violation of A&E's policies and practices for a documentary," the network said in a statement.
The series was rebranded this week as an exposure into the lives of those hoping to escape the white supremacist group, renamed to the aforementioned title after first being called "Generation KKK”, due to widespread criticism condemning the documentary for normalizing extreme hatred. The network also enlisted the help of civil rights group to collaborate and provide in-show education, following the backlash.
"We had previously provided assurances to the public and to our core partners - including the Anti-Defamation League and Color of Change - that no payment was made to hate group members, and we believed that to be the case at the time," the network said. "We have now decided not to move forward with airing this project."
"Our goal with this series has always been to expose and combat racism and hatred in all its forms," they added. "A&E takes the authenticity of its documentary programming and the subject of racism, hatred and violence very seriously."