HELENA, Mont. – leader of a Hutterite colony are demanding one apology indigenous the national Geographic society and a pledge that it never ever again transfer a television display they speak misrepresented their means of life and also damaged their reputation.

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National geographic Channel CEO David Lyle said Wednesday one apology is unwarranted because the display gave a fair and also accurate relenten of swarm life.

Caught in the middle are the stars of the display who speak they have actually been called by elders to "tell the truth" yet some the whom now fear feasible excommunication.


"That"s what I"m fear of," said Bertha Hofer around the possibility of being cut off native the King Ranch colony.


King Ranch nest minister man Hofer, Bertha"s brothers in law, created a July 31 letter to national Geographic culture chairman and also CEO john Fahey the "American Colony: satisfy The Hutterites" was supposed to it is in a National geographic Channel documentary about the German-speaking farming community of Protestants in main Montana.


Instead, Hofer said, the producer turned it right into a truth TV show that motivated discord in ~ the neighborhood by pitting generations versus each other. Situations and story lines to be invented and the civilization were said what come do and say when the camera to be on, that said.

The an outcome was an inaccurate depiction that has damaged the call of Hutterites everywhere, he said.


"We feel us were ambushed and publicly humiliated through the producers of fulfill the Hutterites, and also by the National geographic Society," Hofer composed in his letter to Fahey. "King Ranch swarm did not sign up for this kind of abuse."

Hutterites room Protestants the German descent whose traditional, religious-centered lives have actually been contrasted to that of the Amish and also Mennonites, but they live in commune-like colonies in rural locations of the west U.S. And Canada.


They additionally make usage of some technology, specifically when it come to farming production. Yet the degree to i m sorry the Hutterites permit in the contemporary world and the effect of that on their social and classic values is one of the themes in the 10-part collection about the King Ranch nest 10 miles west of Lewistown that aired previously this year.


Producer Jeff Collins claimed he believes the negative response to the collection originated through Hutterite elders in Canada. Those elders, that said, space unhappy that the Hutterites ~ above the show made decision to use the camera come talk about education, the role of women and also the battles of adapting to modern ways.

Most top top the King Ranch nest are pleasure with and proud the the show, Collins said, yet he believes lock are currently under external pressure come lodge a protest.

"I knew this present would provoke controversy yet I never knew the length the elders would go to gain back some of the control they feel they lost," Collins said.


In June, the bishops for the 3 sects of around 50,000 Hutterites in 500 nests in phibìc America said in a joint statement the they to be "deeply disappointed" in the show and that it gift a "distorted" and contrived image of your faith.

Lyle stated he was standing by the producer and that the present went through nationwide Geographic"s fact-checking protocol.

"We believe in the show. We believe it"s a fair and also accurate portrayal that the life in the component time that us were there," Lyle said.


John Hofer said The linked Press on Wednesday that Collins landed on the colony, discovered their life too boring for TV, and also persuaded them to do things they never ever would typically do.


"The method I feel, the mocked us and degraded us," Hofer said. "The first time i met the guy, you know what the said? "I"m not out come hurt any kind of of the people." and he turned around and that"s what he did. Our simple way of life was no exciting sufficient to him. "

The King Ranch swarm was payment $100,000 to get involved in the production, and also that money has actually been spent, he said.


Bertha Hofer, a mother of three youngsters who was featured prominently in the series, stated the very first three episodes were accurate depictions however then producers started presenting them through story lines. She said they rejected some ideas but went in addition to others.

"It was just like they corrupted her mind. Us just dropped for it," she said.


But Hofer claimed she likewise feared the she would be punished ~ the show followed her and her daughter Claudia looking in ~ a college in good Falls.

She said she is fighting because that a full education for she children, while the elders believe in an eighth-grade education for most colony members, she said. The ed


Colony spokeswoman Mary-Ann Kirkby said the levels of Hutterite education differ through colony and by sect. In general, she said, the elders room not against education but are came to that young Hutterites who leave because that public school might never return to the colony.

Claudia Hofer wrote in a statement released by the Hutterite nest through a spokeswoman that most of the scenes she was in were staged and scripted.

"None of castle sounded negative in any method but ns was totally shocked when I saw the edited variation of the episodes," she wrote.


Another nest member, Wesley Hofer, claimed in one more statement released by the nest that an illustration in i beg your pardon he was rushed to a hospital for what was thought to it is in a heart attack was staged.


Collins denied creating story lines, saying the life top top the swarm is so foreign to a newcomer the there is no means to consist of stories for them, and also they wouldn"t have actually gone in addition to it, anyway.

Collins also said he believes the statements from colony members disavowing the present were coerced through elders who have actually threatened members with excommunication if castle don"t write them.

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John Hofer claimed the declaration were created voluntarily. Bertha Hofer stated she was no coerced to write a statement, though she said she would certainly not speak the others" statements, consisting of her daughter"s.


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