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GKKK in the media

Due to uproar on social media that A&E was normalizing the KKK, the title of the show has officially changed to, “Escaping the KKK: A Documentary Series Exposing Hate in America.”  

A&E Says It Will Rework, Retitle Its Ku Klux Klan Series

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On Friday, A&E announced that it was changing the title to “Escaping the KKK: A Documentary Series Exposing Hate in America,” and would work with Color of Change, a civil rights organization that expressed concerns about the series, to develop interstitial segments and a post-show town hall event that would offer more context to the series.

The additions “more broadly reflect the existing anti-hate content of the series and our longstanding intention,” Rob Sharenow, the general manager of A&E, said in a statement. “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, the executive director of Color of Change, praised the channel for taking concerns about the series seriously, adding: “We both want to work together to ensure that it did not normalize and humanize racism and white supremacy.”

I'm not so sure the title was meant to "normalize" the Klan and its members -- I would strictly leave that function up to the content of the show. I'm fine with the name change though but am not so sure it was really necessary. I mean, it's the fucking Klan. Anyone who belongs to that group are pieces of shit anyway - it's a terrorist organization after all! So wouldn't Generation KKK just mean a generation of garbage humans? 

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I find it sad that this kind of hate and stupidity exists in the world.

I also find it supremely sad and pathetic that these people refer to themselves as Grand Wizards, Nighthawks, and Dragons.  Seriously?

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I'm not bothered by the pay for the participants -- it's not unusual for some documentary subjects to receive stipends or other forms of compensation -- I believe John Mark Byers received some $ at some point from the West Memphis Three producers -- and I'm certain there are other cases of this happening. If the money provides access that would otherwise be denied, I don't have an ethical issue with that. 

Here's a somewhat lengthy preview of the series (that isn't really a series anymore, I guess). It's not like they were portraying these Klanspeople in any flattering light -- it's inconceivable how they could. But It also doesn't appear that they were making up wacky storylines for them to follow ("The Klan Family Goes to Dollywood...Hijinks Ensue!") And I certainly don't think this was any effort to "normalize" this group. For many years in the 90s (from what I recall), A&E used to have LOTS of docs on about the Klan -- and I'd watch every one of them, not because I wanted to join, or that their ideology was appealing to me, it's just that I was interested in finding out why these people were such illiterate toolbags and try to understand why anyone would have any interest in white supremacy at all. From what I gathered, it was mostly disaffected young people and the random old (who usually resembled the neighborhood perv) and whoever their respective girlfriends were.  In fact, the linked preview I watched didn't look much different than any other doc I've seen about neo-Nazi people. Different faces, different decade, same old shit. 

I'm sorry they canceled this show. I think it would have been interesting. 

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Someone else may pick it up. If the work has already been done on it, a network could likely get it for a song. Maybe Vice? I think it's important to expose expose expose when it comes to these cretins. Their own words do more damage than anything else.

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Does anybody really need to be sold on the fact that the Klan is repulsive, though?  Even if it's portraying them in a negative light, why give them the publicity?

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It seemed like they were getting too much negative press before the season aired, and were looking for an out. Personally, I'm fascinated by hate groups. They do seem to be disaffected youth most of the time, and knowing that, we as a society could probably intervene with some of these individuals to stop them before they cause terroristic acts if we know what to look for. There was a man whose family reported him to the FBI because he was saying some pretty awful religious extremist things. He ended up murdering some people, and his family claimed that his ramblings were not taken seriously because he was Christian, and if he was Jewish or Muslim, the FBI would have intervened and helped them have him committed. It was several years ago, and I cannot remember his name or his crime. 

Shortly after Oprah began her talkshow, she had some members of the KKK and Aryan Nation on. She later said it was the show she regretted, because she thought hearing them talk would show people how crazy and stupid they were, but the people on the show were just so happy that they got to keep saying their ignorant message, and both organizations considered it a positive experience. She didn't think it had the negative effect on the groups that she anticipated, and regretted giving them a platform.

The negative response A&E was getting is the same thing. I think they decided that it wasn't worth it, and with learning that some people were paid, they had an out. The bad press from that factoid was going to be intense.

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5 hours ago, starri said:

Does anybody really need to be sold on the fact that the Klan is repulsive, though?  Even if it's portraying them in a negative light, why give them the publicity?

EXACTLY.  I have serious objections to this organization and these people being even the tiniest fraction of the Directv "entertainment" that I pay for.

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Well, I had hope for the series because it's primary focus (from what I've seen) was to extricate the children of these goons from the KKK life. 

I still think it's a missed opportunity to shine a national spotlight on these organizations and watch them run like the cockroaches they are.

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22 hours ago, Giant Misfit said:

I still think it's a missed opportunity to shine a national spotlight on these organizations and watch them run like the cockroaches they are.

On the other hand, it's also an opportunity for them to try and pull the "We're not racists, we just think white people are awesome!" rebranding bullshit they've been trying to do for twenty years.

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You know, I could get behind that sentiment if this were some, for lack of a better word, whitewashing of their core beliefs a la the clans on Duck Dynasty and the Duggars and those two married extremist fundies on the HGTV show. If anything, those shows put a nice rebranding on the hate that goes on behind the scenes. People rally around these people because the TV box presents them as normal, loving, decent upstanding members of the community who do wacky things while the same TV box never reveals what lurks behind the facade it creates for entertainment.   

From the previews I saw, the people who were appearing on this show were the stereotypical Klan people  -- bereft of the language skills they demand non-native-tongue citizens speak in their presence, poorly dressed, and mostly impoverished. That's hardly glamorizing the scene. I think a lot of what the average TV viewer sees is through the lens of their own eye and not always through the one the Internet digs through in the aftermath of each episode. 

I find the Klan and their ilk -- including the white supremacists and antisemites who make up the so-called alt-right gang -- despicable and un-American. And right now, in our current climate, all we have are nameless and faceless Twitter and Facebook accounts (many or most that belong to Russian trolls) espousing these views in a public forum. I still say put the ugly rhetoric together with its actual ugly face and more Americans might not buy what these people are selling. It's the same difference between putting a frumpy housewife and a supermodel on the cover of Vogue magazine. More people are gonna buy the copy with the prettier picture than the ugly one. 

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On 12/26/2016 at 5:48 PM, Giant Misfit said:

From the previews I saw, the people who were appearing on this show were the stereotypical Klan people  -- bereft of the language skills they demand non-native-tongue citizens speak in their presence, poorly dressed, and mostly impoverished. That's hardly glamorizing the scene.

But they relish any chance to get in the spotlight, as we've seen time and again over the last year and will probably see for at least the next four.  

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I'm really torn here. On the one hand, "name and shame," as the guy in the promos says. On the other hand, shame doesn't really seem to be a thing anymore. They will never be shunned into nonexistence, since there will always be a dank place on the internet at least, where they'll find like minds and an echo chamber of their hatred and bigotry.

On another hand (I have three or four at least!) given that a national Klan leader endorsed a presidential candidate who didn't immediately denounce it in the strongest possible terms, they're clearly something that society as a whole is going to have to grapple with, and don't we need to see what's actually going on in order to do that? I don't know. It's a tough one for sure.

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From the Hollywood Reporter article posted above, but the entire article is worth reading:

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As Howard talks candidly about manipulating local media, all I could think was, "Do the producers think they're getting something more candid? Did they not understand that they're just a part of a cycle in which this man believes there's absolutely no downside?" 

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And even if you think he's being made a national posterboy for hate, Howard doesn't care. He doesn't shy away from uttering racial slurs and making threats on-camera, because he knows that for the people who do follow him and might be inclined to follow him, these are badges of honor and courage. Even if heretofore unseen episodes might find Howard softening his message and even undergoing a major transformation, his initial portrait of KKK leadership is defiant and unapologetic.

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I came away from four episodes of Escaping the KKK extremely conflicted. It's more important than ever for people to be aware of the rise of hate groups in the United States, to see what these faces look like, to hear what their ideology sounds like and to know that there are good people out there trying to help. And Escaping the KKK is involving TV. I know that the producers of Escaping the KKK approached this from an honorable perspective and Escaping the KKK isn't intended as a promotional reel for the Klan. But the fact is a lot of hateful people will probably be pretty chill about how they're portrayed here. 

Well now I can't separate the quote boxes, but the first two are essentially what Oprah discovered when she had them on her show. The third is why I expect to see this show up on a streaming media site in the future. This show will be repackaged and sold again.

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I just read the article posted by @RinaX and absolutely believe it is true. A few weeks back, I was looking for a contract from a production company to show that the title of the show isn't named, just the production company, and fell into a hole reading allegations of impropriety by the production company that produced the fake Amish shows. One was on a white supremacy website, where that production company was trying to recruit people for a show where they were going to show that they were real people. The leader of that site called bull on the claims, citing several complaints made about them for other shows, and encouraged the members to not respond. The production person tried to defend herself, but it was clear that she wanted them to tell the story she wanted to tell, and was pretty upfront about it, ultimately suggesting that if they were proud of their beliefs, why wouldn't they want to do it? and being smacked down because she began by saying she wanted to show certain things.

That particular group had been issuing statements about how a white man in a wheelchair had been killed by a cop and there was no protest. I think it was in the Seattle or Portland area, but don't remember. Thing was, there was quite a bit of uproar over it, just not a march. The production company pounced on it to try and get a show where they would get to tell their version of how Black Lives Matter gets attentions but the poor white man doesn't. Only, they wanted to show some of the dress up and protests, too. The site leader looked them up and balked because they were too shady for her.

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