“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 statement.
“We had previously provided assurances to the public and to our core partners — including the Anti-Defamation League and Colour 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.”
The project triggered wide criticism as soon as it was announced earlier this month. The network, which originally titled the series Generation KKK, changed the name and enlisted civil rights groups to collaborate on in-show educational content after getting heat for allowing the KKK’s hate speech to be aired.
In the opening scene of a trailer for the now-scrapped series, the Imperial Wizard of the North Mississippi White Knights is shown giving his young children red Klansman hoods and saying he hopes his daughter becomes the first female Imperial Wizard.
“Our goal with this series has always been to expose and combat racism and hatred in all its forms,” A&E said. “A&E takes the authenticity of its documentary programming and the subject of racism, hatred and violence very seriously.”
Errol Morris, the Oscar-winning filmmaker, triggered a debate over the issue in 2008 when he acknowledged that during the making of his film Standard Operating Procedure, soldiers who were convicted of tormenting inmates at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq were paid for their time.