"We have now decided not to move forward with airing this project," the network said in a statement

By Karen Mizoguchi
Updated December 24, 2016 04:23 PM
Credit: TIJAT/A&E

A&E announced that the network will no longer be airing its controversial docuseries about the Ku Klux Klan.

Seventeen days ahead of the intended Jan. 10 premiere, A&E released a statement regarding the cancellation, noting how producers paid some of its subjects.

“A&E learned last night from the third-party producers who made the documentary that cash payments — which we currently understand to be nominal — were made in the field to some participants in order to facilitate access,” the statement read.

“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. We had previously provided assurances to the public and to our core partners – including the Anti-Defamation League and Color of Change – that no payment was made to hate group members, and we believed that to be the case at the time. We have now decided not to move forward with airing this project.”

The decision to scrap the eight one-hour episodes, titled Escaping the KKK: A Documentary Series Exposing Hate in America, comes just one day after A&E announced a new title change and partnership with African-American civil rights group Color of Change to collaborate on in-show educational content in light of intense backlash. It was formerly called Generation KKK.

Escaping the KKK, which was first announced by A&E on Dec. 12,followed several families within the Ku Klux Klan, some members attempting to get out, and the activists working to break the cycle of hate. The eight-minute first-look trailer was recently taken down from YouTube by the network.

Read the full statement from A&E below: