CESNUR - Centro Studi sulle Nuove Religioni diretto da Massimo Introvigne

A&E History Channel and Weird Conspiracy Theories - Letter by J. Gordon Melton

A&E History Channel Logo

Eleven NGOs and academic research centers specialized in human rights and religious liberty, two of them with special consultative status at the United Nations’ Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) wrote on October 28, 2020 to Disney CEO Bob Chapek, protesting an episode on A&E’s History Channel, part of its program “America’s Book of Secrets,” entitled “Cults, Hate Groups, and Secret Societies.” Disney is the co-owner of the A&E Networks, which in turn owns the History Channel.

The episode, now being aired in different countries, supports weird conspiracy theories, suggesting that Freemasons may operate a secret base hidden under Denver International Airport, where babies may be killed; that the Illuminati try to dictate how many children each family may have and conspire with the likes of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett; and that “cults” are proliferating like never before and are guilty of all conceivable wrongdoings.

One special target of the episode is the Church of Scientology, which is attacked by lumping it together with the Ku Klux Klan, the American Nazis, and religious movements that committed mass homicides and suicides. While Scientology is discussed, images not related to this religion are shown.

The only reasonable comments in the show are by well-known American scholar J. Gordon Melton, but he is quoted out of context.

Melton has now written a letter of protest of his own, published here.