NBC dumped the comedy “Mail Order Family” late Friday, after intense criticism that the proposed series perpetuated damaging stereotypes.
The project, from “Superstore” writer-producer Jackie Clarke, is about a single dad who obtains a mail-order bride from the Philippines to raise his young children. Clarke, a comic and writer who was raised by a Filipina stepmother, based the pitch on her own life.
But critics quickly accused the concept of trading on harmful stereotypes about Asian-Americans and making light of the very real problem of sex trafficking. A #CancelMailOrderFamily campaign arose online. Clarke spent much of this week trying to bat away the flak she was getting on Twitter.
“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 spokesman wrote 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.”
Critics hailed the decision, but said NBC needed to do more.
“Our voices have been heard,” a writer on the Asian-American activism site 18MR wrote. “But the fact that such an insensitive show was green lighted by so many people is proof of the harms of the overwhelming whiteness of the media industry.”