Calls to boycott A&E over 'Live PD' cancellation are met with opposition

The cancellation of Live PD has led to a call to boycott A&E. However, not everyone using the #BoycottAandE hashtag on Twitter opposes the show going off the air.

Amid the ongoing protests against police brutality in the wake of George Floyd’s death — and the calls to defund the police — Cops was canceled and Live PD, another reality show about law enforcement officers airing on the A&E network, was put under review after a report revealed a Live PD camera crew was present and recording footage of Javier Ambler pleading “I can’t breathe” during his fatal arrest in 2019. A&E, along with MGM’s Big Fish Entertainment, which produced the show, announced Wednesday that a decision had been reached to cancel Live PD.

The cancellation of Live P.D. by A&E has been trending online with support and opposition. (Image: Live PD via Facebook)
The cancellation of Live PD by A&E has been trending online with both support and opposition. (Live PD via Facebook)

The decision to ax the highly rated show has since been criticized, leading with the “shocked” and “disappointed” show host Dan Abrams, as well as Megyn Kelly, who slammed the censorship of this as well as HBO Max’s decision to yank Gone With the Wind, leading to its trending on Twitter.

Fans of Live PD have said that it was more than a police show. The drama “saved so many missing children & got bad people off the streets,” wrote a commenter.

But the majority of comments appear to be applauding the move. After all, this commenter notes, “We already can watch all the police brutality we want just by turning on the news.”

Many others are mocking the protest:

Alyssa Milano was among those criticizing Live PD ahead of its cancellation. She called for the release of the footage of the Ambler arrest, but Abrams has since said it was destroyed.

On Thursday, Abrams published an essay answering some of the questions he’s been asked about the death of Ambler. The Austin American-Statesman reported the 40-year-old former postal worker was hit with a stun gun three times, and as he asked for air, he told Austin police he had congestive heart failure and begged, “Save me” and “I am not resisting. ... Sir, I can’t breathe. ... Please,” before he was stunned a fourth time and lost consciousness.

Abrams called the report “inaccurate and misleading.” He said while the fatal arrest was recorded, “the show was on hiatus when the incident occurred” and “filming for future episodes.” Because of that, “It never aired on the show.” It wouldn’t have anyway, as “A&E standards and practices didn’t permit us to show a fatality on the show.” He said Live PD no longer has the footage, since the show has a “long-standing policy to only keep footage for a few weeks absent a specific legal request to retain it, and all of the departments we followed were aware of that policy.”

He added that, in retrospect, the show should have aired the footage, but “everything up to Javier Ambler’s final moments. It would have been very difficult to watch but in an ongoing effort to show all sides of policing I wish this had been aired just as we had shown many other controversial moments that led to criticism of, and appreciation for, police.”

Of the cancellation, Abrams added, he’s “sad” and “frustrated” because “I truly believed in the mission of the show to provide transparency in policing. I completely agree with advocates calling for more body cams on officers and more uniform rules for their use. It seems to me that the antidote to bad policing and officers is transparency and that means more body cams and more shows like Live PD. It’s important to distinguish Live PD from a show like Cops that just presented a highlight reel of crazy moments. Live PD was totally different — following the officers in real time, in their real environments showing the nerves, the adrenaline, the bad, the good, and often the mundane and boring. I will miss it all.”

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