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Tony Harris Will Team With Southern Poverty Law Center to Investigate Hate Crimes in New Documentary Series

Tony Harris Will Team With Southern Poverty Law Center to Investigate Hate Crimes in New Documentary Series

Building on the success of the “Hate in America” special that aired in 2015, Investigation Discovery (ID) and journalist Tony Harris are teaming with civil rights advocacy organization, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and its founder, Morris Dees, to be the first network to produce a documentary series showcasing stories from the organization’s case files in a new series also titled “Hate in America.”

The SPLC, which has been fighting hate and bigotry through litigation and education for more than four decades, is currently tracking nearly 800 active hate groups across the country, which target entire classes of people for their race, religion, sexual orientation, or other immutable characteristics. These groups, according to SPLC, seek to divide our society with bigotry and, too often, violence. 

Produced by NBC News’ award-winning production arm Peacock Productions, the documentary series kicks off with its first premiere on Monday, February 29 at 8/7c.

Known for navigating the troubling racial and ethnic divide during his 30-year career as an award-winning journalist, in “Hate in America,” Tony Harris investigates some of the SPLC’s groundbreaking work fighting organized hate – from a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the United Klans of America, to the white supremacist Pioneer Little Europe group in Flathead Valley, Montana, to neo-Nazis and the proliferation of lone wolf shooters and other domestic terrorists.

“The SPLC is the pre-eminent group fighting daily to cripple America’s most notorious hate groups and to champion the cause of equality and fairness,” said Henry Schleiff, Group President of Investigation Discovery, American Heroes Channel and Destination America. “A personal hero of mine, it is a privilege to bring the story of Morris Dees and his amazing team at the SPLC to ID viewers. While there are many unsung heroes of the civil rights movement, Morris has devoted a lifetime of work and has fought tirelessly to protect the rights and freedoms of all U.S. citizens.”

“Unfortunately, our nation has a history of not recognizing the threat of hate groups and other extremists until they have lashed out with deadly violence,” said Dees. “At the Southern Poverty Law Center, we have spent decades monitoring this threat and taking extremists to court when they resort to violence. We were eager to open our case files for Investigation Discovery and share stories of our most harrowing cases to raise awareness about the extremist threat in America.”

The first episode of “Hate in America,” titled “The Klan on Trial” premieres on Monday, February 29 at 8/7c, with subsequent premieres airing throughout 2016. 

Episode descriptions follow via press release:

– “Hate in America: The Klan on Trial”

Series World Premiere: Monday, February 29 at 8/7c

In the first episode of “Hate in America,” Harris explores some of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s most riveting court cases, starting with the Michael Donald case – a heinous lynching of a young man in the early 1980s that prompted SPLC founder Morris Dees to sue the United Klans of America (UKA) on behalf of the victim’s mother. In this landmark court decision, the UKA’s violent leadership was held responsible for the unspeakably violent and racist acts of its members, helping to turn the tide against organized hate in our country. Harris also digs deep into the deeds of notorious white supremacist murderer Glenn Miller, who most recently made headlines when he went on a shooting spree at a Kansas Jewish Community Center in April 2014.

– “Hate in America: Lone Wolves”

Episode Premiere: June 2016 (TBA)

In this episode of “Hate in America,” Harris investigates the rise of the lone wolf, revealing startling information about the dramatic increase of this deadly threat. Over the last six years alone, there have been more than 60 incidents of domestic terrorism planned by “lone wolf” attackers or pairs. That averages out to one incident every 34 days. Harris travels the country to investigate three distinct lone wolf attacks, delving into the psychology of the twisted minds of the shooters, including an anti-Semitic attack at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2009, the ambush of two police officers and a bystander by anti-government extremists in Las Vegas in 2014, and the 2015 massacre by a white supremacist at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

– “Hate in America: A Town on Fire:

Episode Premiere: 3Q 2016 (TBA)

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 white supremacists and anti-government radicals. Some of them 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. Harris travels to Montana to see for himself what is happening in Flathead Valley, and how communities are reacting to this convergence of extremists in their own backyards.

“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.

Here’s a sample of what’s coming:

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