“Amish Mafia” on Discovery

We’ve had comments on other posts about “Amish Mafia” and request for a thread on the upcoming show, so here it is.  The Discovery Channel program doesn’t premiere until Dec. 12. I don’t really have much comment as far as the substance behind it.  I will say that I am not surprised following the success of recent Amish-themed TV shows.

When it comes to public interest both the “mafia” and the “Amish” genres, if you will, have proven highly popular.  Mafia films and TV programs have seen success going back to at least the 1970s and continuing today.  The Amish have recently seen a surge in public attention.

I suppose the people behind the show thought it would be a sure ratings winner to combine the two concepts, especially given the shock value of a charged word such as “mafia” attached to the Amish.

Based on the above reasoning perhaps we’ll be seeing an Amish vampire drama or Amish talent or dance show next.  Your thoughts are welcome below.

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    1. Jackie

      Amish Mafia

      I have lived around the Amish all of my life and have never heard of the “Amish Mafia!” If this is a “true” story it was a well guarded secret among the Amish.

    2. LOL – Your wording cracked me up in this post!! So well said. My father-in-law is Italian and swears there’s not a mafia, which I think is kind of funny. If there’s an Amish dance show next, remind me to set my DVR! “Amish Mafia” sounds ridiculous but like I do with most of them, I’ll watch the first show so I can make my own opinion about it. “Leave the gun, take the shoofly pie”.

      1. Breaking Amish Mafia

        It does seem to get a little ridiculous Beth. For the last week I have actually been corresponding with an Amish friend over email about this, trying to get him to spill the beans about the alleged connections between the PA Stoltzfusini and the Midwestern Hershbergiere families. I have not heard anything yet though I have offered to assent to the Amerta code of silence.

        Yes I am being silly and that may be the best response to these shows? I guess we’ll learn more as they are aired. I didn’t realize, though I learned today, that TLC (Breaking Amish) and Discovery are sister channels owned by the same company.

        As to the basis of the show I really don’t know much. That said, if I had to guess I’d suspect there may be people with connections to Amish (by blood, former) who may have stepped in once or twice, perhaps even of their own initiative, to help with “delicate situations”. Of course non-Amish can act in ways Amish cannot, and less conspicuously (they can drive, and look non-Amish, for instance). Based on a few stories thus is born the Amish mafia. Any other theories or insights welcome.

    3. Annmarie

      I just wonder how low television networks will sink. That is why I love Netflix. It is cheap and I am in control. I decide what goes in my queu and they suggest “like” movies. My younger kids have been exposed to an enormous amount of foreign films(they do not mind reading translation captions at bottom of screen) and documentaries. They never would have seen if we had cable because I could bet my last dollar disney or nickjr would be their choice of shows to watch. Not that they are bad networks…but so much more to be exposed to. Netflix offers documentaries, foreign films(my fave) family movies, etc…And If I happen to want to see something out of curiosity( like breaking amish) I just use my iPad and watch an episode from there for free..lol..People actually think that I am nuts for not having cable. I think that is the little bit of Amish in me 🙂

      1. No cable is one of my “traces of Amishness” too Annmarie (well, actually no TV), however meager it might be 🙂 Nice that one upshot of technology is the control we have over what media we consume.

    4. Judith Grober

      Amish mafia

      I feel that the Amish are being exploited on television.I am not Amish,but wish I was.How do the Amish feel about these shows? The shows seem very disrespectful of the Amish culture and beliefs.

    5. I asked a former Amish man here in Lancaster (he now has a car, but is still a conservative Anabaptist and still lives smack in the middle of the community) about the Amish mafia. He said he never heard of it in all his life (he’s about 55 or so).
      He even made the comment that he doubts that most OO Amish even know what “mafia” is. 🙂

    6. Colleen

      These shows make me very sad. It is an awful thing to exploit the Amish or any group who for the most part are unaware of the content of the shows they are being portrayed in. Every time I think television(and society in general) has reached it’s lowest point, I am proved wrong once again. 🙁

    7. Matt from CT

      One town in particular in my area has seen a large population growth over the last 20 years — the newcomers tending be higher income liberals who moved from well-to-do inner suburbs. It causes quite a few political and culture clashes, and they’ve taken to calling the old guard in town the “Manure Mafia.”

    8. Kentucky Lady 717

      I will probably watch it the first day it’s on…but I doubt I will continue to watch it….I’m hoping BREAKING AMISH will come back on, I definitely will watch it again mostly to see Claudia….she was the best one on there….

    9. Micheal McEvoy

      Mennonite Mafia

      This may or may not be related to a spate of stories about Old Colony Mennonites smuggling drugs from Mexico to Canada. according to some sources, there are about 100 Old Colony Mennonites in prison for smuggling drugs for the cartels. This is due, in part, to poor years for rain and crop failure; as well as the influx of the world into their lives.
      While the number of “mafia-types” are small compared to the total population, it is one of those aberrations that really stand out.
      As with the OC Mennonites, I’m sure that the total number involved is small, and they will need to really stretch the story to get any airtime out of it.
      But, consumer-driven TV will sell anything to anybody to make the dollar. I guess that it is a good reason to not have one.

    10. Jamie Prough


      I will not be watching Amish Mafia. I heard that the reality series Breaking Amish was a hoax more on less…played by actors. I think TLC & Discovery are capitolizing on the publics interest in the Amish people. I have alot of respect for this culture of people and I feel they are being exploited.

      1. Tom Geist

        Breaking Amish had a 2 part follow-up at the end of the series with the cast. You can find this at the TLC site if you have an interest.
        I question if English people view the show to learn more about Amish or just for recreation. I think we like to see “a fish out of water ” to see how people act when they are taken out of their normal environment.
        For the Amish themselves, or those that like them, there is a concern that people will assume all Amish act like these people. Gullible people may misunderstand, but most won’t.
        Tom in Lincoln

    11. LeeAnn

      Amish Mafia

      Very sad indeed how the television is exploting the Amish. Most people know the Amish are not violent and would not be involved in the Mafia. Its just more of the “Breaking Amish” stuff. I watch part of one show and could tell it was fake! Doubt I will watch Amish Mafia, as I know it is not true.

    12. Linda Lewis

      I am sickened by the movies and so-called documentaries that have been written about the Amish lately. They live the way they live and don’t force their life style on others. We have Amish that is starting to grow about a mile from where we live. There is an Amish woman about 8 miles away who bakes pies and breads for me.

      My guess is that these “Mafia” ideas come from the fact that some of the bishops are very “take-charge” type men and they are the law when it comes to how their families conduct their lives. Some of the Amish are afraid of them and some have moved to other areas because of their power and strength.

      We know as acquaintances quite a few Amish families and they aren’t like any of those portrayed on those disgusting movies and TV specials that are on lately.

    13. George H.

      The title is offensive to me and I would not be surprised if it has to do with increasing the viewer ratings.
      How low can we go to increase ratings? I just wanted to know the opinion
      of some Amish folks.
      We don’t know if the series is fictional, I assume so, but we’ll find out next month.
      Yes, Erik, what’s next: Amish Vampires or Werewolves?
      I like to see people leave the Amish alone, instead of exploiting them for personal gain.

    14. Judith Grober

      Amish mafia

      “Breaking Amish”was bad enough-Now it’s “Amish Mafia’?It”s nothing but money -making exploitation of the Amish and their way of life.The television networks should just leave these people alone!

    15. Sharon

      I agree with George – the title is offensive. I cannot believe there is Amish Mafia. I think it is a company trying anything to make money. I will not watch it and I don’t watch Breaking Amish.

      1. Micheal McEvoy

        Yes there is an "Amish Mafia"

        Unfortunately there is an Amish involvement in drug trafficking, just like there is an involvement with the Old Colony Mennonites. Given the numbers of OC Mennonites involved, and the tightness of the Amish communities, I would say that it is most likely ex-Amish or those who have not joined the church.
        Is it a crime syndicate like the actual Mafia, no. But the media has stuck that on plain groups that have some aberrant members who do get involved with criminal activity.

    16. Watch for a rise is names like Giuseppe, Nick, Vincent, Vito, Franky, Ludiano, Mario, Aniello, Alquido, Jimmy, with nicknames aka Fat Tony, Lucky Luciano, Chin, Slippy, The Horse. Hammer Hand, etc.

      Then you’ll know the Amish hold the Mafia as their peers.

      Same as the “Breaking The Amish” – False

      There is always the chance that there could be Amish or Mennonites involved with the Mafia, however it is far from being main stream, or known.

    17. Linda

      Should we ignore “Amish Mafia”? Should we pray for the producers? Should someone ask the company to change the title to something like “Pennsylvania Mafia”?

    18. They just never stop with the nonsense do they?

    19. vannyc

      I am deeply troubled by this type of “reporting” by the Discovery Channel. For me, this program has destroyed all their creadibility. It’s seems to be just sensationalism, misrepresentation of facts, and an applaing disrespect for the Amish culture.

      While some Amish communities have very strict rules, to cast that as mafioso is appalling. The BBC topicial programmes on the Amish are much more reflective, accurate, and non-discriminatory. Possible because of their fact cehecking, lack of sensationalish, and not assessing everything with a so called American point of view.

      1. mike

        I hate to break it to you, but channels like Discovery and History channel. Fabricate events, stats, and make up garbage for ratings. It is truly a sad thing, but facts are without that….. with just facts, true events and history. You have PBS public broadcasting. Which would mean no money, which would mean that they wouldn’t exist to even broadcast this junk. Ratings don’t lie, unfortunately well over 80% of people turning on the tube. This is what they want to see. After all, it’s non reality, and when you look deep enough. Well, reality has gotten pathetic, sad, and people want to escape it. Nothing wrong with a little escape, as long as you retain the ability to turn off the channel, when you’ve been filled with enough nonsense.

    20. Richard

      No Amish Mafia?

      The only Amish violence I have EVER heard about was in the old joke,”What goes ‘clip-clop’, ‘clip-clop’, ‘clip-clop’…BANG!…BANG!…’clip-clop’, ‘clip-clop’, ‘clip-clop’…”?
      An Amish drive-by shooting!

    21. Steve

      You gotta nuther thing commin

      I feel for the Amish, I really do.
      I feel for any group of people I know so little about.

      “The way the Amish are currently experiencing themselsves on TV,
      is exactly what leads to Reason in the Church and Justice to the people.

      As the Song says…U gotta another thing coming….uh, uh, uh…U gotta nother thing com’in..Uh, Uh, Uh……

      Best Wishes….Really!


    22. John Micheals

      I just watched the season finale of Amish Mafia and it shows that this series is pure BS!!!!!!!!!! If those idiots actually did what was shown, they would be in jail within an hour. What a bunch of crap!

      1. Colleen

        John Michael,
        I do not watch this junk, but saw a preview for a coming show where they were discussing an “issue” with an “amish bishop” and I noticed that the said bishop was wearing a wedding ring! Ha! Most everyone knows that the Amish do not wear wedding rings or jewelry of any sort. It’s just so sad that people spend their precious minutes watching this stuff.