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 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.”
Has anyone seen this series? The CEO of the National Geographic Channel strongly rejects the charges made by the bishops. However, what I have seen on that channel in the past makes me wonder if the bishops aren’t right.
Perhaps the King Ranch Colony is different from the other Hutterite communities. But I agree with Mary Ann Kirby, a Hutterite author, who said that Hutterites are “a culture that 75 percent of Americans never have heard about. That should have been interesting enough.”