Just four days after putting drama project “Alice in Arabia” into development with a pilot greenlight, ABC Family is washing its hands of the potential series in the wake of a growing backlash.
“The current conversation surrounding our pilot was not what we had envisioned and is certainly not conducive to the creative process, so we’ve decided not to move forward with this project,” the network says in a statement released to Deadline on Friday (March 21).
Shortly after the project, described as “a high-staked drama series about a rebellious American teenage girl who, after tragedy befalls her parents, is unknowingly kidnapped by her extended family, who are Saudi Arabian,” was announced on Monday, controversy erupted.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations made their disapproval clear with an open letter calling on ABC Family to meet with Muslim and Arab-American community leaders to address potential stereotyping:
“As the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, we are concerned about the negative impact this program could have on the lives of ordinary Arab-American and American Muslims … We are concerned that, given media references to the main character ‘surviving life behind the veil,’ the pilot and any resulting series may engage in stereotyping that can lead to things like bullying of Muslim students.”
While concern over the portrayal of Muslims on American TV isn’t entirely unfounded, all things considered, ABC’s swift abandonment of the project, penned by former cryptologic linguist for the US Army Brooke Eikmeier, seems remarkably hasty.
Do you think ABC Family made the right move by walking away from “Alice in Arabia”?