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SANTA CLARA, CA - OCTOBER 28: TV Giorgio Tsoukalos, TV producer and personality, speaks at  Alien Con 2016 during a panel discussion on October 28, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ramin Talaie/Getty Images for History)
The Biggest Scandals To Ever Hit The History Channel
History - Science
Content Warning
This story contains discussions of domestic abuse.
“Ice Road Truckers,” a show depicting the perilous lives of drivers in the iciest regions of Canada and Alaska, has been criticized for exaggerating or even outright faking some of the danger, but the real scandal hit the show in 2013. One of the show’s stars, Timothy Zickuhr, kidnapped Lisa Cadeau, a sex worker, and held her for ransom until she tricked him into arranging his own arrest.
The show “Ancient Aliens,” well known for spouting conspiracy theories about aliens and pyramids, made its way onto Southern Poverty Law Center's Hatewatch blog for showcasing white supremacist theories. It did so by reigniting the racist idea that ancient African, Asian, and Native American architectural marvels were built by some kind of mysterious, alien entity.
History Channel commissioned and then abruptly canceled “The Kennedys,” a $30 million scripted mini-series about John F. Kennedy and his family that leaned hard into some of the more tawdry rumors about the famous clan. An early leaked draft of the script caused an outcry among Kennedy family allies, which eventually led to the cancellation of the high-profile project.
“Swamp People,” a show that follows the lives of alligator hunters living in Louisiana, landed itself in trouble after stars R.J. Molinere and Jay Paul Molinere were arrested for attacking a man with a beer bottle. One of the stars was also arrested for burning his girlfriend with a lit cigarette and punching her, while another star got in trouble with the law for selling illegal meat.
History presented “Bigfoot Captured,” a feature-length special about the discovery and capture of a real Sasquatch, as a real documentary, despite the fact that the entire program was pure fiction. Many viewers didn't realize it was fictional, since the "scripted story" disclaimer was buried deep in the credits, leaving some viewers furious about pseudoscience being presented as fact.