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Mail Order Family comedy scrapped at NBC after backlash

Critics complained the project would perpetuate racial stereotypes, make light of human trafficking

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NBC

NBC announced Friday night it is scrapping plans for Mail Order Family just two days after announcing it would develop the comedy.

The decision follows backlash from critics who complained the comedy would perpetuate racial stereotypes and make light of human trafficking.

“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 NBC spokesperson said in a statement to EW. “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.”

Mail Order Family, which had received a script deal at NBC, comes from Superstore writer-producer Jackie Clarke. The comedy is based on Clarke’s own experiences and aimed to tell the tale of a Filipina woman brought to the United States to help a widowed man raise two girls.

The project was criticized online after its announcement on Wednesday, and a Change.org petition protesting the project raked in nearly 10,000 signatures since its launch on Thursday.

Mail Order Family is the most recent example of how the exploitation and violence women face is normalized in U.S. mainstream media,” the petition reads.

Blogger Laura Sirikul wrote on The Nerds of Color site, “In a society where Asians are constantly whitewashed or placed in stereotypical situations, NBC should really reconsider picking up a comedy where there is human trafficking of an Asian woman into an unwanted marriage.”

Before the project was spiked on Friday, Clarke responded to critics on Twitter on Thursday, saying she wanted to make the character “a fully realized strong activated character.”

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