Steven Spielberg’s ‘Why We Hate’ Comes to Discovery Channel This Fall

Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg, Photo: Paul Bruinooge, PMC

A new limited series co-executive produced by East Hampton director Steven Spielberg is coming to Discovery Channel this fall. Why We Hate explores one of humanity’s most primal and destructive emotions—one that has been seen throughout history in countless acts of violence, bullying and discrimination. While all humans have the capacity to hate, few understand what causes it to manifest with such destructive force. Fewer still know how to stop it from spreading.

“The issues explored in Why We Hate are more relevant than ever,” says Chief Brand Officer Nancy Daniels. “Discovery is tremendously proud to delve into this critical subject with legendary filmmakers Alex Gibney and Steven Spielberg and the teams they have assembled. The hard science gives us the knowledge we need, the storytelling provides the hope.” Spielberg is strictly a co-executive producer for the series, giving the director’s hat to Emmy winners Geeta Gandbhir and Sam Pollard.

Drawing on journalism, historical investigations and ground-breaking research in psychology, biology and neuroscience, Why We Hate traces the evolutionary basis of hatred and its powerful impact on individuals and societies throughout human history. The science behind the behavior is a powerful tool to help society understand what drives conflict, enabling people to have serious conversations about these issues and behaviors. Experts involved in the project include cognitive scientist Laurie Santos, evolutionary anthropologist Brian Hare, journalist and author Jelani Cobb, extremism expert Sasha Havlicek, international criminal lawyer Patricia Viseur Sellers and neuroscientist Emile Bruneau.

Why We Hate also highlights the personal stories of those who have lived a life of hatred, including a lifelong member of a hate group who used to stand on a picket line spewing baseless damnation, but who has since reformed. “The distance between the us and them in this country is getting bigger, and it’s developing more of the uglier sides of tribalism,” Santos notes.

The six-part series will begin airing on Sunday, October 13 at 10 p.m. on Discovery Channel, with new episodes airing on subsequent Sunday nights. It is supported by Discovery Education, a digital curriculum resource that will distribute exclusive series clips, classroom activities, lesson plans and a take-home parent viewing guide to more than 51 million students worldwide.

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