In a rare sign of TV networks actually listening and acting on the public's feedback, The Hollywood Reporter states NBC has scrapped plans for its comedy Mail Order Family.
Centering on a mail-order bride from the Philippines who helps a widowed father raise his two preteen daughters, the show took its basis from the real-life experiences of comedian Jackie Clarke, receiving an understandable level of backlash for appearing to normalise human trafficking under the show's banner of "family comedy", with zero Asian American writers having been hired for the project.
Nerds of Color points out that Clarke's own real-life experiences with her stepmother were far from harmonious; with the marriage ending unhappily when her stepmother rejected Clarke's attempts at closeness, and later divorced her father after discovering he had a secret family in the Philippines. Clarke's father himself eventually abandoned his children to live with his new family in the Philippines.
NBC were swift to act on the backlash at least, cancelling the show two days after its announcement; following widespread social media criticism, and a petition for its cancellation which stated that the, "human trafficking and the exploitation of Asian women is no joke."
"We purchased the pitch with the understanding that it would tell the creator's real-life experience of being raised by a strong Filipina stepmother after the loss of her own mother," an NBCUniversal spokesperson said in a statement. "The writer and producers have taken the sensitivity to the initial concept to heart and have chosen not to move forward with the project at this time."
Hollywood whitewashing controversies
Hollywood whitewashing controversies
1/11 Scarlett Johansson cast as Motoko Kusanagi in Ghost in the Shell
Blonde, white US actress Scarlett Johansson was announced to be playing the clearly Japanese character Motoko Kusanagi in Hollywood's Ghost in the Shell remake, much to the dismay of Asian film fans
2/11 Tilda Swinton cast as The Ancient One in Doctor Strange
Marvel sparked outrage when Anglo-Scottish actress Tilda Swinton was cast as Tibetan mystic The Ancient One alongside Benedict Cumberbatch in Doctor Strange
Zoe Saldana was criticised for 'blacking up' to play the considerably darker-skinned soul singer Nina Simone in Nina
4/11 Jake Gyllenhaal stars in Prince of Persia
The half Jewish, quarter Swedish actor was cast to play a Middle Eastern Prince in Disney's 2010 film
5/11 Rooney Mara as Tiger Lily in forthcoming film Pan
Mara was been cast in the role of American Indian Tiger Lily, sparking an online protest from angry film fans
6/11 Christian Bale plays Moses in Ridley Scott's Exodus: Gods and Kings
Ridley Scott claimed he would never cast 'Mohammed so-and-so from such-and-such a country' in a lead role in his Biblical epic, and went on to cast an entirely white cast instead
7/11 Jim Caveziel plays Jesus in Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ
Catholic star Mel Gibson chose to cast a Caucasian American actor in the role of Jesus for his controversial film
8/11 Micky Rooney plays a Japanese neighbour in Breakfast at Tiffany's
Who better to play Holly Golightly's Japanese neighbour IY Yunoishi than American actor Mick Rooney. At least Hollywood has come some way since 1961
9/11 Ben Affleck as Tony Mendez in Argo
Ben Affleck became the subject of a few editorials in Latin American newspapers for casting himself (an American with English, Irish, Scottish and Swiss ancestry) as a Mexican CIA operative
10/11 Jennifer Connelly plays Alicia Nash in A Beautiful Mind
Alicia Lopez-Harrison de Lardé was a naturalised US citizen from El Salvador, but was played by an actress of Jewish, Irish and Norwegian descent
11/11 Chinese actresses cast in Memoirs of a Geisha
What better way to alienate Japanese cinemagoers than to cast three Chinese actresses in the lead roles in a film about Japanese culture
The series was set to be written and produced by Clarke, with Ruben Fleischer onboard as executive producer and director.
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