Mobile  |  About us  |  Photos  |  Videos  |  Subscriptions  |  RSS Feeds  |  Today's Paper  |  Classifieds  |  Contact Us
The Daily Star
SUNDAY, 20 APR 2014
07:49 PM Beirut time
Weather    
Beirut
23 °C
Blom Index
BLOM
1,214.01down
Movies
Follow this story Print RSS Feed ePaper share this
TV series condemned by leaders of Anabaptist faith
Associated Press
This undated image released by National Geographic Channels shows a Hutterite family in Lewistown, Mont. (AP Photo/National Georgraphic, Ben Shank)
This undated image released by National Geographic Channels shows a Hutterite family in Lewistown, Mont. (AP Photo/National Georgraphic, Ben Shank)
A+ A-

LOS ANGELES: A TV documentary series about an Anabaptist community in Montana offers a "distorted" and contrived image, bishops representing the Hutterite faith in the U.S. and Canada said.

John Stahl, Peter Entz and John Waldner, bishops for the three sects encompassing the roughly 50,000 Hutterites and 500 colonies in North America, said in a joint statement Thursday that they are "deeply disappointed" in National Geographic Channel's "American Colony: Meet the Hutterites."

The 10-part series that began airing last month promised a rare inside look at Hutterite colony life, focusing on the King Ranch Colony.

"What was promised by the producers to be a 'factual documentary' is, in fact, a distorted and exploitative version of Hutterite life," the bishops said, one that paints all Hutterites in a "negative and inaccurate way."

The bishops accused producers of contriving scenes and dialogue in a "make believe" portrayal of "how we live and the spiritual beliefs we cherish."

David Lyle, National Geographic Channel's CEO, vigorously defended the channel and the series.

"This is a declaration of war from the Hutterite elders against the National Geographic Society, calling into account our fairness," Lyle said. "We absolutely are fairly representing the King community."

The bishops' criticisms reflect "the very tensions that are at the core of this story," he said, which he described as the conflict between Hutterite traditions and rules, and some colony members' efforts to remain devout while adapting to 21st-century society.

The King Ranch Colony had declined comment before the series began airing and had no comment Thursday, according to Kristin Cole, a spokeswoman for the bishops.

"American Colony" producer Jeff Collins, who did not respond to a request for comment, said previously that the series would avoid such reality TV ploys as "feeding" lines to people to heighten the drama. He described the production as an ongoing "negotiation," with colony members querying the crew on how and what they were taping.

"American Colony" depicts members of the 59-member King Ranch commune, located more than 100 miles (160 kilometers) from Billings, Montana, as drinking alcoholic beverages and cursing. Some parents are shown questioning their faith's tenets, while a restless teenager flouts rules on dress and dating.

Hutterites are "a culture that 75 percent of Americans never have heard about. That should have been interesting enough," said Mary-Ann Kirkby, a member of the faith who lives in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, and wrote the 2010 memoir, "I Am Hutterite."

"To then make them act completely out of character for your own ends shows a great lack of judgment and decency," said Kirkby, who said she's had detailed discussions with the bishops about the show and their concerns.

King Ranch is among about 50 colonies in Montana averaging roughly 100 people each, according to a 2010 state report. Hutterites also live in South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Washington and Oregon.

 
Home Movies
 
     
 
Anabaptists / Hutterites / United States of America
Advertisement
Comments  

Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

comments powered by Disqus
Advertisement


Baabda 2014
Advertisement
Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Linked In Follow us on Google+ Subscribe to our Live Feed
Multimedia
Images  
Pictures of the day
A selection of images from around the world- Saturday April 19, 2014
View all view all
Advertisement
Rami G. Khouri
Rami G. Khouri
Why Israeli-Palestinian talks fail
Michael Young
Michael Young
Why confuse gibberish with knowledge?
David Ignatius
David Ignatius
Echoes of 1914 characterize the Ukraine crisis
View all view all
Advertisement
cartoon
 
Click to View Articles
 
 
News
Business
Opinion
Sports
Culture
Technology
Entertainment
Privacy Policy | Anti-Spamming Policy | Disclaimer | Copyright Notice
© 2014 The Daily Star - All Rights Reserved - Designed and Developed By IDS