ABC cancels controversial pilot Alice of Arabia following backlash
Script, about an American girl kidnapped by her Saudi Arabian family, had been condemned by Council on American-Islamic Relations
• Alice in Arabia could break the mold, but don’t hold your breath
ABC Family has called time on controversial pilot Alice of Arabia following widespread condemnation of its premise, which had been accused of racial and cultural stereotyping.
The project, which was greenlit just last week, was to centre on “a rebellious American teenage girl” who is kidnapped by her Saudi Arabian family. Writer Brooke Eickmeier penned the pilot while working as a US army cryptologic linguist. Following an enormous backlash on social media, Buzzfeed obtained an early draft and dismissed the script as“exactly what critics feared”.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations had requested a meeting with ABC representatives last week. “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,” said CAIR-LA executive director Hussam Ayloush. “We urge ABC Family Channel to meet with representatives of the Muslim and Arab American communities to discuss this important issue.”
Following the uproar, ABC issued a statement announcing that Alice of Arabia would not go ahead. “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,” they said.