We sat through years of “The Hills,” so by now as savvy TV viewers we’re aware that so-called reality TV isn’t quite as spontaneous and unscripted as we’d like. But after learning that TLC’s series “Breaking Amish,” about Amish and Mennonite people living modern lives in New York City, is possibly staged, we can’t help but feel a little lied to.
In the official description of the show from TLC and production company Hot Snakes Media, it’s said that the former Amish and Mennonite subjects of the show are leaving their isolated communities for the first time. But evidence unearthed on social media sites like MySpace and Facebook and compiled on several blogs, most notably one called “X Amish Atheist,” shows that most of the subjects have not been Amish for some time. In fact, they have children and arrest records that prove otherwise.
Kate, an aspiring model, was arrested for a DUI in Florida before signing up for the show. Although it’s mentioned on “Breaking Amish,” it’s not mentioned that she’s apparently been submitting photos to modeling sites for a few years now — definitely not very Amish.
Rebecca and Abe are portrayed as two strangers with a shy flirtation, but apparently in real life they have a child together. And Jeremiah has reportedly been living outside of the Amish community for as many as 14 years, and is divorced with three kids.
For what it’s worth, Hot Snakes Media says that the controversy will be addressed on future episodes of the show. “There is a lot of information floating around about the group featured on ‘Breaking Amish.’ Much of it is not true, but some of it is — and is addressed in upcoming episodes,” the company says in a statement to Variety.
“Our Amish and Mennonite producers that we hired
introduced us to Amish and Mennonite men and women who were already
determined to leave,” the company says. “They had already made
the decision to go out and see the world, with or without us. They
courageously allowed us to follow them on this journey.”