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Desperate Housewife Eva Longoria defends new drama Devious Maids from 'sexy Latina' stereotype attack


The actress Eva Longoria has rejected criticism of her controversial new series, Devious Maids, which has been accused of perpetuating stereotypes of Latina woman in the United States.

Written by Marc Cherry, the creator of Desperate Housewives, and produced by Longoria, who shot to fame in the suburban family drama, Devious Maids aims to repeat the success by portraying five Hispanic maids who cook, clean and scheme while looking after wealthy white families in Beverly Hills.

The series premiered on the Lifeline cable channel on Sunday night, drawing two million viewers in a slot competing against the series finale of Mad Men.

But Longoria, 38, was forced to defend the series from claims that it relied on a clichéd view of the Latina maid.

The Chicago Sun-Times said: “Arming Latinas with feather dusters and dirty laundry isn’t the only stereotype at work in Devious Maids. The first two episodes are littered with clichés, set to the strumming of Spanish guitars.”

The housekeepers are presented as “sexy saints dressed like they should be walking the runway, not sweeping it.”

Longoria said: “When people talk about stereotypical maids, these maids are anything but. I think it's important for us to have a dialogue of identity in our culture, and even though this show may not be your experience, it is a lot of people’s experience.”

The characters of the five maids would develop over the series as they pursue their ambitions and dreams, said Longoria, who played Gabrielle Solis in Desperate Housewives. She added that Latinos are over-represented among domestic workers in the United States. “That is a fact, that’s not an opinion.'”

Cherry admitted: “There’s a little of the upstairs/downstairs element” but said the maids had been written to stand out as individuals, not just members of a homogeneous service class.