NBC Scraps “Mail Order Family’ Comedy Amid Protest

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NBC's Jackie Clarke (Photo; Twitter)

Washington, DC–Two days after putting the comedy about a widowed single father who orders a mail-order bride from the Philippines to help raise his two daughters, NBC has reversed course, The Hollywood Reporter reported.

“We purchased the pitch with the understanding that it would tell the creator’s [Jackie Clarke] real-life experience of being raised by a strong Filipina stepmother after the loss of her own mother,” the Hollywood Reporter quoted an Universal spokesperson. “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.”

NBC's Jackie Clarke (Photo; Twitter)
NBC’s Jackie Clarke (Photo; Twitter)

With the recent trend of substantive and meaningful roles on television that explore nuanced perspectives of Asians in America, NBC’s announcement of a new show in production called “Mail Order Family” is a leap backward in the depiction of Asians and Asian Americans on television, Asian Americans Advancing Justice affiliates said in a statement.

“As one of the few television shows either on air or in production to feature Asian Americans, it is an outrage that NBC has chosen to address the plight of mail-order brides and human trafficking as a family comedy,” the statement said.

Instead of a thought-provoking documentary, drama, or real-life program about the exploitative nature of the mail-order bride industry, “Mail Order Family” trivializes the predicament of women who are bought and sold into the sex slave trade or into abusive relationships with men they’ve often never met.

For over 30 years, Advancing Justice | Los Angeles has provided legal assistance to thousands of immigrant women subject to domestic violence, sexual assault or exploitation, servile marriage and human trafficking, including mail-order brides from the Philippines and other Asian nations. For more than two decades, Advancing Justice | AAJC has fought for equitable representation and depictions in the media for Asian Americans.

As organizations representing the civil and human rights of Asian Americans, we fight to correct the lack of meaningful Asian American representation on television as well as stand against the exploitation of members of our community for entertainment. We condemn television executives for choosing to perpetuate the fetishization and commoditization of Asian women and we demand the cancellation of “Mail Order Family.”

Asian Americans Advancing Justice is a national affiliation of five leading organizations advocating for the civil and human rights of Asian Americans and other underserved communities to promote a fair and equitable society for all. The affiliation’s members are: Advancing Justice – AAJC (Washington, D.C.), Advancing Justice – Los Angeles, Advancing Justice – Atlanta, Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus (San Francisco), and Advancing Justice – Chicago.

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