KKK Members Say A&E Paid Them to Fake Scenes in Canceled Series

Ku Klux Klan holds annual gathering in Tennessee in 2009 (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Ku Klux Klan leaders are now speaking out against A&E after the network canceled its controversial docuseries, Escaping the KKK: A Documentary Series Exposing Hate in America.

The series, which was supposed to air Jan. 10, was canceled, not because of the backlash it received for normalizing hate, but because it was disclosed that some participants were paid. And now, in an interview with Variety, those participants claim that they were paid several hundred dollars for fake and distorted footage.


They said that some of the distorted scenarios included fictional stories that were prescripted, as well as lying about their identities, and they said they were told not to file taxes on the money received for participating.

“We were betrayed by the producers and A&E,” said Richard Nichols, the grand dragon of a KKK cell known as the Tennessee White Knights of the Invisible Empire. “It was all made up—pretty much everything we said and did was fake … because that is what the film people told us to do and say.”


Nichols also said that participants were encouraged to use the n-word during the filming of the series.

“They kept asking me, wanting me, to use the word ‘[n—ger],’” said Nichols. “I was sitting down being filmed and interviewed with the lights and the backdrop set up, and I said something and used the word ‘blacks.’ Then the producer interrupted me and said, ‘No, no, no. We want him to use the word '[n—ger]!’”


Nichols also said he was paid $600 a day for working on the show.

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