For those of us who know, understand and respect our Amish community here, the debut of Discovery Channel’s AMISH MAFIA Series was, in some ways, our worst nightmare. However, for the Discovery Channel and Hot Snakes Media which produces the Series, an unexpected nightmare awaited them as well.
This unlikely dream sequence took the form of our little Amish Country tour company’s decision to develop an “Amish Mafia – Chust Nonsense!” tour debunking the series’ offensive and disgraceful portrayal of Amish life. Obviously irritated by the tour company’s audacity, the Discovery Channel wrote the Amish Experience claiming that the tour could not be called “Amish Mafia – Chust Nonsense!” with or without a disclaimer. Notwithstanding the merits, or lack thereof, the name was changed to what is also the name of this blog, “Is There a Mafia? – The Amish Tour.”
Enter Hot Snakes Media, equally annoyed when we announced we would be stopping at actual film locations, including the beautiful and historic Silverstone Inn where much of the local “Amish” filming took place. A cease and desist letter went out to the Silverstone owners demanding that the Inn stop associating with the tour and not allow it on their property. Understandably intimidated, Silverstone backed out of its agreement and the tour was shuttered. Goliath had won, but only momentarily…
Telling the Amish story, accurately and respectfully, has been our goal since 1959. Explanations as to the how’s and why’s of Amish culture have always been central to the tours. Thus, it would take little to set the AMISH MAFIA record straight – simply state the AMISH MAFIA’s Amish “facts” and then explain the truth about Amish life, all the while driving through beautiful countryside along farms as picturesque as you’ll find anywhere. So instead of restricting our comments about this series to a special tour just once a day, it will now be part of all four of our regular Amish Farmlands tours every day! Visitors will receive a tabloid revealing much more about the show and its “cast.”
For visitors who want to meet and talk to the Amish, the Visit-in-Person Tour makes three Amish visits so that guests can reach their own conclusions about the Amish way of life from the Amish themselves.