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 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.
Shocked & beyond disappointed about this. To the loyal #LivePDNation please know I, we, did everything we could to fight for you, and for our continuing effort at transparency in policing. I was convinced the show would go on. . More to come. . .https://t.co/WWh7fDrig2
— Dan Abrams (@danabrams) June 11, 2020
‘Live PD’ is consistently one of the highest rated shows on cable. But now it may go away bc even watching a police show is somehow offensive to some. (Secret option #2: if you don’t like it, don’t watch.) https://t.co/CKmlcoZxnN
— Megyn Kelly (@megynkelly) June 10, 2020
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.
This is not right! @OfficialLivePD and @danabrams did more than just air a "police" show, they showed how much the police help people and bring the community together. They also saved so many missing children & got bad people off the streets Shame on you @AETV ! #BoycottAandE https://t.co/BCASWxLuXp
— Terri Mauldin (@tmauldin12) June 11, 2020
Shocked at cancellation of @LivePDNation. This show highlights real events and does not promote discrimination, if anything it helps shed light to both sides. Not to mention the missing segment that has helped find numerous missing children. @danabrams #BoycottAandE
— AccessoryChic (@AccessoryChic53) June 11, 2020
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.”
Big props to @AETV for canceling #LivePDNation. We already can watch all the police brutality we want just by turning on the news. We don't need a whole show devoted to it. Do not #BoycottAandE. #EndPoliceBrutality
— Mr. Rad (@BigHiggaHigga) June 11, 2020
Many others are mocking the protest:
#BoycottAandE REALLY? I’m so sorry y’all can’t watch people get arrested anymore... it’s damn near like a sick fetish for you people! 😒
Like why do you like watching this depressing ass shit anyways?
— ❤️ (@kitsune_crazy) June 11, 2020
As a white person, this tag #BoycottAandE is beyond dumb. Especially considering everything that has happened to people of color in this country at the hands of a militarized police force. For you racists, have some more anime pic.twitter.com/PO01iKFdnk
— Atomicfireball (@AtomicFB) June 11, 2020
— without justice there's no peace (@pessimisticone1) June 11, 2020
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.
🚨 @OfficialLivePD has the video of the police killing of #JavierAmbler, with him pleading “SAVE ME.”
They won’t release the video to his family.@danabrams, WHY is your show keeping this family from getting justice? https://t.co/4xGo4b8kFk
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) June 9, 2020
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.”
I had been preparing to answer questions about the #LivePD footage of the death of Javier Ambler when the show was canceled. But the issues are still critical so here are responses to various questions I've been asked (and thoughts on the end of the show). https://t.co/gSb9b3OxaT
— Dan Abrams (@danabrams) June 11, 2020
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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