Press release from A&E, Dec. 23, 2016:
Building upon the pre-existing partnership with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the country’s oldest and largest Jewish civil rights organization, A&E Network has announced an expansion of their commitment to exposing hate through new and enhanced relationships with some of the country’s leading civil rights organizations, including a new partnership with Color Of Change, the leading next-generation African American civil rights organization with over 1 million members.
Building upon the planned PSA campaign with the ADL, A&E will feature in-show content provided by civil rights leaders between segments that gives further context to what viewers are seeing on air. The network will also produce and air a Town Hall-style show to facilitate deeper dialogue about ending hate in America. Color Of Change will also join the ADL and A&E in helping to develop viewer guides and educational curriculum to help viewers discuss the difficult subject matter and learn how they can get involved to help.
Additionally, in consultation with our partners at the ADL and Color Of Change, the network is changing the name of the show to ensure that no one can mistake its intent and that the title alone does not serve to normalize the Klan. The new title: “Escaping the KKK: A Documentary Series Exposing Hate in America” better reflects our longstanding intention and the content itself. “Escaping the KKK: A Documentary Series Exposing Hate in America” will premiere on January 10th at 10pm ET/PT on A&E.
“We are glad to have some of the country’s leading civil rights organizations, including the ADL, Color of Change and others as partners in this effort, and look forward to working together to impact hate in America. We feel that this new title and enhanced partnerships, the in-show and after-show components and our outreach plan more broadly reflect the existing anti-hate content of the series and our longstanding intention. That goal is to expose and combat racism and hatred in all its forms and we appreciate the valuable feedback we have received,” said Rob Sharenow, Executive Vice President & General Manager of A&E and Lifetime.
“After reviewing the promotions and episodes and participating in substantive conversations with A&E executives, we are pleased to see that the network is taking seriously concerns that the show – newly titled ‘Escaping the KKK: A Documentary Series Exposing Hate in America’ – required important additional components – such as specific in-show educational context and content and a post-show town hall as we both want to work together to ensure that it did not normalize and humanize racism and white supremacy. Black communities know all too well how perpetuating stereotypes and hateful rhetoric can empower a racist and violent agenda. At Color Of Change we recognize the power of TV and media images and our work is rooted in creating a less harmful and hostile world for Black people and all people. We look forward to seeing updated content that adds further context to the episodes, and working closely with A&E on programming that articulates the network’s intention of reversing racial hatred and violence, as well as finding ways to work with A&E and anyone else to end the rise of white supremacy and the hateful and violent tactics of the organizations that advance this ideology,” said Rashad Robinson, Executive Director of Color of Change.
“Escaping the KKK: A Documentary Series Exposing Hate in America” follows several family members who work with anti-hate “extractors” in order to help themselves or their family leave the Klan. It is a documentary about real people: those who are looking for a pathway out hatred and supremacy. This expands A&E’s existing commitment to addressing the complex issues of race and hatred in America following last year’s “Shining a Light: A Concert for Progress on Race in America.” The event was created by A&E after a gunman walked into Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston and took the lives of nine innocent people, simply because of their race. The event raised awareness and funds for organizations and individuals around the country that are bringing diverse groups together, working to eliminate bias, and making progress on race.