NBC nixes 'Mail Order Family' sitcom featuring Filipina mail order bride after backlash
The show will not go on.
NBC announced on Friday night that it scrapped plans to develop Mail Order Family, a sitcom about a man who purchases a Filipina mail order bride, Entertainment Weekly reports.
"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 Entertainment Weekly. "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."
The network announced that the show had been greenlit only two days ago, Mic previously reported. The decision comes after a scathing internet response to the premise — many claimed the premise mired in racial stereotypes and that it was inappropriate to make light of sex trafficking.
A Change.org petition from GABRIELA-USA, an advocacy group for Filipina women, protesting the show garnered over 11,000 signatures in less than two days.
"Exploitation and violence against Filipino women is not entertainment!" the petition reads. "The mail order bride industry in the Philippines is rooted in historical U.S. colonial occupation of the Philippines, feudal-patriarchal view of Filipinas, and current neo-colonial economic policies that have impoverished the Filipino people."
Family was to be produced by Jackie Clarke, a comedian who based the show on her own life experience with her father and Filipina mother. Clarke had previously spoken about their marriage on an episode of the PBS radio program This American Life.
"It wasn't that Pora didn't like me, she just had no desire to be a mother to me," Clarke said on the program. "His marriage to Pora was never a good one. It was basically hellish fighting followed by silent treatments."
The entertainment blog Nerds of Color also criticized the show, saying it endorses "the concept of mail order brides and marketing it as a positive characteristic of a 'kooky' family. Human trafficking of a woman to be married off to a man she doesn't know should not be a laughing matter."
In a tweet celebrating the show's cancellation, GABRIELA-USA wrote: "This shows the power of the people!"