‘Shocking and upsetting’: Everything we know about Louis Theroux’s new documentary series Forbidden America

Documentarian has been travelling across the US for his latest films

Ellie Harrison
Wednesday 09 February 2022 15:17
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Louis Theroux's Forbidden America starts on BBC2

Louis Theroux is back with a new documentary in which he explores the impact of the internet and social media in some of the most controversial corners of American society.

Forbidden America will cover three themes across three episodes: far-right figures, rappers and porn performers.

Theroux has said the series will look at the way that social media “has affected people in America who are in different ways involved in dangerous, extreme, or morally questionable lifestyles”.

The documentarian said the three films were “tough to make” and feature “scenes and confrontations that are shocking and upsetting”.

He added: “They are also powerful depictions of a world that has become strange in ways we could never have imagined just 10 years ago.

“They show the dangers of the technotopia we all now inhabit, where extremist content can be piped directly into the phones and laptops of millions of children.

“But they also illustrate some of the positive opportunities the new world has created by disrupting old hierarchies of power.”

In the first episode, airing Sunday 13 February, Theroux meets the new, young influencers of the far-right who are promoting racist, misogynistic, homophobic and antisemitic ideologies online, often under the guise of “irony”.

Capitol rioter Baked Alaska and Louis Theroux

Among the figures he meets are some of those who were involved in the Capitol Hill riots. Theroux will interrogate their opinions and explore how they are stepping out from the shadows of the web to influence events in the physical world.

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Episode two will see Theroux immerse himself in the new world of rap and hip-hop in the southern states of the US, particularly Florida.

Ratchet Roach, Louis Theroux and Boo Bon

He will look at how rappers are now becoming successful through self-promotion online, and how internet feuds, opening up about their anxieties and fears, and live-streaming their lifestyles has connected them to their fanbases.

The third instalment will see Theroux delve into the porn industry as it grapples with its own #MeToo movement.

He will explore how the emergence of websites such as OnlyFans has given performers financial independence, while social media platforms have become a space to publish accusations of sexual misconduct. He will meet accusers and alleged perpetrators, and discuss the wariness around stigmatising sex work as a haven for predators.

Louis Theroux: Forbidden America begins on BBC Two at 9pm on Sunday 13 February.

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