Fake News? KKK Members Say They Were Paid to Distort Facts for A&E Series

The "mainstream" media have been accused of being far too interested in promoting the Ku Klux Klan for ratings. The A&E cable network ended up pulling a new series slated for a January debut called Escaping the KKK: A Docuemntary Series Exposing Hate in America after allegations that they paid the Klan members and staged fictional events to add drama. That's fake episodes of hate.

A&E's pitch for the show was "This show is not rehearsed or prepackaged." But Variety’s Nate Thayer reports their findings were based on interviews that Variety conducted with over two dozen people involved in the making of the documentary. He found that some were paid and pushed to “distort facts”:

“Some KKK leaders divulged that they were paid hundreds of dollars in cash each day of filming to compel them on camera to distort the facts of their lives to fit the documentary’s predetermined narrative: tension between Klan members and relatives of theirs who wanted to get out of the Klan."

Ironically, the production company is called This Is Just A Test. That is all the series was.

The KKK leaders who were interviewed by Variety detailed how they were wooed with promises the program would capture the truth about life in the organization; encouraged not to file taxes on cash payments for agreeing to participate in the filming; presented with pre-scripted fictional story scenarios; instructed what to say on camera; asked to misrepresent their actual identities, motivations and relationships with others, and re-enacted camera shoots repeatedly until the production team was satisfied.

The production team even paid for material and equipment to construct and burn wooden crosses and Nazi swastikas, according to multiple sources including Richard Nichols, who is one of the featured subjects of the documentary series as the Grand Dragon of a KKK cell known as the Tennessee White Knights of the Invisible Empire. He also said he was encouraged by a producer to use the epithet “nigger” in interviews.”

When asked about the allegations, A&E declined comment beyond issuing the generic statement that it would be taking an additional step of conducting an investigation into the matter.

Melissa Mullins
Melissa Mullins
Melissa Mullins is a freelance writer and PR professional living in the Washington, D.C. area.