Hosted by Tony Harris, HATE IN AMERICA: A TOWN ON FIRE Premieres Exclusively on ID, Thursday, March 24 at 8/7c
On the heels of a controversial decision this month to defer prosecution of David Lenio, a man who made online death threats last year, Investigation Discovery (ID) announced today the premiere of the next installment of HATE IN AMERICA, which explores the growing movement of white supremacist and anti-government radicals across the country through the lens of a region in Montana. In HATE IN AMERICA: A Town on Fire, Emmy Award-winning journalist Tony Harris introduces America to Flathead Valley, Montana. Sitting just outside Glacier National Park, this secluded corner of the nation is dotted with snow-capped peaks and striking vistas. But over the last decade, this idyllic setting has become home to an increasing number of activists that envision the creation of an all-white homeland in this remote area, while others see it as a modern-day Alamo where they can escape from the invasive reach of the government. Produced by NBC News’ award-winning production arm Peacock Productions, HATE IN AMERICA: A Town on Fire premieres on Thursday, March 24 at 8/7c only on ID.
In the series, Harris teams with premier civil rights advocacy organization, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), to showcase stories from the organization’s files, including the story of Lenio, a 28-year-old former cross-country athlete from Forest Hills Northern High School, in Grand Rapids, Mich., who relocated to the Flathead Valley area in late 2014. In February 2015, Lenio tweeted he wanted to execute 30 or more grade school children, surpassing the number killed at Sandy Hook in December 2012. He also tweeted about shooting up a synagogue, saying he wanted to put bullets “in the head” of a rabbi or Jewish leader. After retrieving a rifle, handgun and ammunition out of a storage locker in Kalispell, Mont., Lenio was arrested.
Last week, a county prosecutor in Montana approved a deferred prosecution agreement whereby the charge against Lenio will be dismissed in two years if he does not break the law. The only additional requirement of the agreement is that Lenio keeps his attorney informed of his address.
HATE IN AMERICA: A Town on Fire, provides an in-depth look at this story and how communities in Flathead Valley are reacting to this convergence of extremists in their own backyards. Featuring an interview with Jonathan Hutson, an anti-gun violence advocate who helped put together the case against Lenio, the special also includes an interview with Harris and the SPLC’s Intelligence Project director, Heidi Beirich, who has been investigating these types of threats and hate crimes for more than a decade.
ID is the first network to produce a full series showcasing stories from the case files of the SPLC, an organization that has been fighting hate and bigotry through litigation and education for more than four decades. According to the SPLC’s 2015 Intelligence Report released last month, the number of extremist groups operating domestically grew by 14% from 2014, and the SPLC catalogued an astounding 892 hate groups in the US, including neo-Nazis, white nationalists, black separatists, Klansmen and other groups that target the LGBTQ community. These groups, according to SPLC, seek to divide our society through bigotry and, too often, violence. HATE IN AMERICA: A Town on Fire, premieres on Thursday, March 24 at 8/7c.
The next installment of the HATE IN AMERICA series, an episode titled “Lone Wolves,” is set to premiere in June 2016 to coincide with the one-year anniversary of the massacre by a white supremacist at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
HATE IN AMERICA is produced for Investigation Discovery by NBC News’ Peacock Productions with Sharon Scott as President and GM and Elizabeth Fischer and Knute Walker as Executive Producers. For Investigation Discovery, Lorna Thomas is executive producer, Sara Kozak is senior vice president of production, Kevin Bennett is general manager, and Henry Schleiff is Group President of Investigation Discovery, American Heroes Channel & Destination America.
About The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)
The Southern Poverty Law Center is dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of our society. Using litigation, education, and other forms of advocacy, the SPLC works toward the day when the ideals of equal justice and equal opportunity will be a reality. Founded by civil rights lawyers Morris Dees and Joseph Levin Jr. in 1971, the SPLC is internationally known for tracking and exposing the activities of hate groups. Its innovative Teaching Tolerance program produces and distributes – free of charge – documentary films, books, lesson plans and other materials that promote tolerance and respect in our nation’s schools. The SPLC is based in Montgomery, Alabama, the birthplace of the modern civil rights movement, and has offices in Atlanta, New Orleans, Miami, and Jackson, Mississippi. http://www.splcenter.org
About NBC News’ Peacock Productions
Peacock Productions, a division of NBC News, is a nonfiction production company that combines the editorial expertise, technical resources, and seasoned talent of NBCUniversal to create series, events, and live specials for global audiences. Peacock Productions reaches more than 300 million people worldwide every year across broadcast, cable, syndication, and emerging platforms with its award-winning specials and series. Sharon Scott is the President and General Manager. For more information, visit: http://www.peacockproductions.tv/
About Investigation Discovery
Investigation Discovery (ID) is the leading mystery-and-suspense network on television. From harrowing crimes and salacious scandals to the in-depth investigations and heart-breaking mysteries that result, the “always revealing” network challenges our everyday understanding of culture, society and the human condition. One of our nation’s fastest growing cable networks, ID delivers the highest-quality programming to 85 million U.S. households and is available in both high definition (HD) and standard definition (SD). For more information, please visit InvestigationDiscovery.com, facebook.com/InvestigationDiscovery, or twitter.com/DiscoveryID. Investigation Discovery is part of Discovery Communications (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), the world’s #1 pay-TV programmer reaching nearly 3 billion cumulative subscribers in 220 countries and territories.