Fears of potential stereotyping in the one-hour drama are among the protests
ABC Family is pulling its recent series order for “Alice in Arabia” amid protests from Muslim and Arab-American civil rights groups.
“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,” an ABC Family spokesperson told TheWrap in a statement.
“Alice in Arabia” followed a rebellious American teenage girl who, after tragedy befalls her parents, is unknowingly kidnapped by her extended family, who are Saudi Arabian.
It was written by Brooke Eikmeier, who previously served in the US Army as a Cryptologic Linguist in the Arabic language, trained to support NSA missions in the Middle East. She left service in September 2013 as a rank E-4 Specialist.
ABC Family announced the series order for the pilot on Wednesday. Pressure from Muslim and Arab-American groups followed the same day. One group, the Council on American-Islamic Relations Los Angeles Chapter (CAIR-LA) said that it had asked ABC Family to meet with Muslim and Arab-American community leaders to discuss concerns about potential stereotyping in the new series.
Although the group acknowledged that Eikmeier had “noble intentions” for the story's potential to give Arabs and Muslims a voice on television, it was “concerned about the negative impact this program could have on the lives of ordinary Arab-American and American Muslims” like stereotyping and bullying of students.
CAIR-LA had previously expressed similar fears with “24,” “The Siege,” “True Lies” and “Rules of Engagement,” among other productions. The Washington-based organization has also acted as a consultant on films, including DreamWorks SKG's “Prince of Egypt.”
“Alice in Arabia” was greenlit along with two other series “Recovery Road,” about a teen girl dealing with addiction, and tennis drama “Unstrung.”