They say any publicity is good publicity, but the #GenerationKKK hashtag trending on Twitter Monday morning didn't hold many kind words for A&E's new series, or for the New York Times weekend review of it. The Generation KKK eight-episode documentary, which sources confirm to the Hollywood Reporter will debut in January, focuses on "pulling back the hood on several prominent members of the Ku Klux Klan." The cable network has had cameras following prominent Klansmen around for the past year, documenting the interactions between leaders of the hate group and family members looking for an exit ramp. One Klan member featured on the show: an Iraq war veteran bombarding his preschooler with "racist rhetoric." "This series gives viewers an unprecedented look at what it is like to be born into hate," A&E Executive VP and GM Rob Sharenow says, per Fox News.
But as Fox notes, the "Twitterverse [erupted] with criticism" over the series—which, per Vanity Fair, "promises to be its most controversial yet "—and over the Times review, which describes a "warm and fuzzy" setup that has one Klansman giving his two little girls gifts of signature KKK hoods. "Oh, dear Lord. Please help dissuade the idiots at @AETV that #GenerationKKK is the worst idea ever," one Twitter user posted, while another noted: "'Generation KKK' will reveal a dangerous enemy while making them think they're being legitimized. Well done, A&E." Others make the point that the show might even be used by the KKK as a recruitment tool, an assertion Sharenow denies. "We certainly didn't want the show to be seen as a platform for the views of the KKK," he tells the Times. (Another A&E series with Leah Remini exposes the innards of Scientology.)