After Discovering Subjects Were Paid, A&E Drops ‘Escaping the KKK’

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Cable network A&E announced Saturday that it’s abandoning plans for its controversial documentary series Escaping the KKK.

In a statement, the network said that it had decided not to air the program after being made aware that field producers had made payments to interview subjects in exchange for access, in violation of ethics policies regarding documentaries.

“A&E learned last night from the third-party producers who made the documentary that cash payments — which we currently understand to be nominal — were made in the field to some participants in order to facilitate access,” the statement read. ” 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. 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. We have now decided not to move forward with airing this project.”

The eight-hour docuseries was to have premiered Jan. 10.

The network added, “Escaping the KKK was intended to serve as a close look at anti-hate extractors focused on helping people leave the Ku Klux Klan — the racist hate group with a long history of violence against African Americans and others. Our goal with this series has always been to expose and combat racism and hatred in all its forms.”

Though this project is shelved, A&E says it is committed to looking for other ways to address the issues of racism and hate.

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Source: USA Today | Jayme Deerwester