A new Discovery Channel show features real-life questionable activities of a small group of Amish Mennonites who make other Amish people offers they can’t refuse, as the Corleone crime family used to say.
“Amish Mafia,” about a quartet considered to be the ruling crime lords of a small Pennsylvania community, comes on the heels of the wildly successful and controversial “Breaking Amish.”
The reality show addition centers on Lebanon Levi, the boss of a small organized vigilante network that includes his three henchmen, Alvin, Jolin and John.
Despite being completely immersed in the Amish community, Levi was never baptized and so is not a member of the Amish church. However, he acts as a financial liaison for the community and takes his interpretation of the law into his own hands.
The show is produced by Dolores Gavin, notable for her work on the programs “Ice Road Truckers” and “Ax Men.” She told the New York Post it took her two years to gain the trust of her “Amish Mafia” subjects.
“Levi is a man who straddles both worlds,” she said. “He genuinely feels as though he is a help to the community, and yet he has a propensity for violence and intimidation.”
“The Church denies that the Amish Mafia exists — yet, like any other person in a community who holds power, the Amish know who to go to if there’s a problem,” Gavin said. She noted that because of Levi’s distance from the church he is able to wield more strength.
Despite being Amish, the group uses phones, drives cars, and fires guns.
The program opens with the disclaimer, “The Amish Church denies the existence of the Amish Mafia. To ensure the safety of innocent Amish, select re-enactments of events must be used.”
The statement confirms the suspicions of many that scenes on the show are not entirely factual.
The Washington Post’s Michael Shank shot the show down as one in “a long litany of offenses” against the Amish religion.
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