×

TLC on defensive over ‘Breaking Amish’

Net, studio say show will address reported inconsistencies

TLC has found itself in hot water over allegations that its latest reality skein, “Breaking Amish,” may be a fraud.

Program, which bowed Sept. 9, follows five Amish and Mennonite young adults as they leave their isolated communities for the Big Apple. “Breaking Amish” has drawn strong ratings, averaging 3 million viewers for its two Sunday 10 p.m. airings to date. Its debut was the most-watched series bow for TLC in three years, even topping that of “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.”

Reports have surfaced, however, claiming that cast members from the show had not only left the Amish/Mennonite community years ago but have been married, had kids and been divorced. Old photos from social media sites like MySpace and Facebook showing cast members in modern clothes have circulated on the Internet, arousing suspicion from viewers and putting TLC and the skein’s production company, Hot Snakes Media, on the defensive.

In a joint statement TLC and Hot Snakes said: “There is a lot of information floating around about the group featured on ‘Breaking Amish.’ Much of it is not true, but some of it is — and is addressed in upcoming episodes.”

Hot Snakes Media also responded to questions regarding the production of the show earlier this week, before the skein’s controversy began to go viral. “Our Amish and Mennonite producers that we hired introduced us to Amish and Mennonite men and women who were already determined to leave,” the company told Variety. “They had already made the decision to go out and see the world, with or without us. They courageously allowed us to follow them on this journey.”

Skepticism has become common in the reality TV space. Allegations of staging have emerged with regard to shows from “Storage Wars” to “The Bachelor,” but the contentions against “Breaking Amish” seem more severe given that they undercut the authenticity of the skein’s overall concept and cast doubt on the cast members’ depicted naivete with respect to modern city life. An industry source remarked that in reality TV, “Oftentimes networks turn their head and play the ‘we didn’t know’ card” when it comes to the staging of a show, especially if it draws high ratings.

TLC noted that it does not advertise that the cast of “Breaking Amish” is leaving the community for the first time. Hot Snakes Media’s official website, however, states the program “follows the lives of courageous young Amish men and women as they experience life, for the first time, outside of the Amish community.”

More TV

  • Rihanna

    Rihanna Pleads for Equality at NAACP Image Awards: 'Tell Your Friends to Pull Up'

    Rihanna was the recipient of the NAACP President’s Award. The honor is bestowed on an entertainer whose commitment to philanthropy is unparalleled. Rihanna, whose chosen charities include the Clara Lionel Foundation, Raising Malawi and UNICEF and was honored as Harvard’s Humanitarian of the Year in 2017, was in attendance for the NAACP Image Awards show, [...]

  • Bernie Sanders, Jane Sanders. Democratic presidential

    Bernie Sanders Projected to Win Nevada Democratic Caucus

    Bernie Sanders is now projected to win the Nevada caucus. Per the Associated Press, Sanders has captured 54% of the delegates with 4% of precincts reporting on Saturday afternoon. Joe Biden is currently in a distant second with 17.8%, while Elizabeth Warren rose to third with 10%. Pete Buttigieg is in fourth place with 8.7%, [...]

  • Lizzo51st Annual NAACP Image Awards, Arrivals,

    NAACP Winners 2020: The Complete List

    The 51st annual NAACP Awards took place Saturday night in Los Angeles with Lizzo being named Entertainer of the Year. Warner Bros.’ legal drama “Just Mercy” nearly swept the top film awards, taking home best motion picture, ensemble, best actor (Michael B. Jordan) and supporting actor (Jamie Foxx). Lupita N’yongo won the best actress prize [...]

  • Leonine Takes International Rights to Premium

    Leonine Takes International Rights to Premium Series 'Herzogpark'

    German media group Leonine has taken international distribution rights to the six-part premium series “Herzogpark,” following a deal with its producers Letterbox Filmproduktion (“Bad Banks”). The rights for German-speaking territories are held by Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland. The dramedy centers on four women from Munich’s upscale Herzogpark district, for whom keeping secrets has become a life’s [...]

  • Luna Nera Netflix Italy

    Italy's Women Filmmakers Set to Make Waves

    The Berlinale in recent years has been a prime launching pad for Italian films directed by women, which though fewer in number to their male counterparts, make up a considerable portion of the country’s representation on the festival circuit — Alice Rohrwacher (“Happy as Lazzaro”) at Cannes, Susanna Nicchiarelli (“Nico”) at Venice, and Berlin regular [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content