The Making of “Meet the Hutterites”: Resources

If what you see in the following documents concerns you,
then please help us ask for an explanation from
John Fahey, Chairman & CEO of the National Geographic Society.
Just click “Like” (below) to join our virtual campaign:
Dear John: Let’s Talk
John Fahey National Geographic
Thanks in advance for whatever clicks you can provide.
– Alan Mairson
(For details about this project & about me, please see this.)

Summary: American Colony: Meet The Hutterites is a new 10-part series on the National Geographic Channel. The series focuses on the Hutterites of King Ranch Colony in Montana, who were contractually promised that National Geographic would produce a television “documentary”; instead, National Geographic and executive producer Jeff Collins produced a reality TV show.

As a result, Meet The Hutterites has caused immeasurable harm – not only to the show’s participants, but to the Hutterite community as a whole. The community at King Ranch Colony is now seeking a public apology and remedial action from the National Geographic Society — and from the National Geographic Channel, which is majority owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation. 


On Wednesday, August 1, 2012, John Hofer, the minister of King Ranch Colony, and Marvin Hofer, the Colony’s Secretary, sent the following documents (hard copies) to John Fahey, Chairman & CEO of the National Geographic Society (NGS), with 22 copies enclosed for each of the 22 members of the NGS Board of Trustees:

  • a five-page letter (dated July 31, 2012) to Mr. Fahey that outlines some of the major concerns of the King Ranch Hutterite Colony re: Meet The Hutterites
  • the original contract & amendment signed by Jeff Collins to produce a “documentary” for NGC Network US and NGC Network International
  • the media release from the Hutterite Bishops which outlines the Hutterite community’s initial concerns about the TV series
  • a letter (dated June 22, 2012) from David Lyle, CEO of the National Geographic Channel, to the Hutterite Bishops
  • a handwritten note (dated June 26, 2012) from Rev. John Stahl, who invited Mr. Lyle and Jeff Collins to a meeting at King Colony Ranch (Rev. Stahl never received a reply.)
  • production schedules and story outlines which clearly illustrate that Meet the Hutterites was a reality TV show and not a “documentary”
  • personal testimonials by members of King Ranch Colony who participated in the show, and who finally want to speak for themselves.

All of these documents can be found below.

Also included on this page are:

  • a gallery of screen shots from a Facebook discussion about Meet The Hutterites
  • a gallery of screen shots from Twitter
  • a radio program about this controversy that aired on The Current, a public affairs show on Canada’s Radio One [AUDIO]
  • links to some related posts here at Society Matters
  • other links & resources


Letter to John Fahey


NGC Hutterites Contract and Amendment


Hutterite Brethren Media Release re: Meet the Hutterites


David Lyle to Hutterite Bishops


Rev John Stahl to David Lyle


Meet The Hutterites: Shooting schedules & outlines




Facebook gallery

 Some parts of this private Facebook chat have been intentionally obscured by request. 
{ Click on each thumbnail to enlarge image;
click in sequence, L to R;
click “escape” to return to this page } 


Twitter / Facebook gallery

 An exchange on Twitter between a Hutterite man (who I’ve anonymized)
and Collins Ave, the production company owned by Jeff Collins


A discussion about this controversy
on Canada’s Radio One:


Some related posts here at Society Matters


Other Resources:


  • Mary-Ann Kirkby interviewed on The Big J Show (Billings, Montana) on August 3, 2012:



  • From the producer of The Big J Show via Twitter (August 3, 2012):

  • An exchange on Twitter that reflects the challenge of open & honest dialogue on this issue:

  • More to come….

Do you know of other resources we should include on this page?
If so, please let us know HERE.

Dear John: Let’s Talk
John Fahey National Geographic

NO NEW POSTS will be published here after February 6, 2014. THIS IS WHY.