ABC Family is scrapping its recent series order of “Alice in Arabia” after advocacy groups expressed concerns that the series may perpetuate negative stereotype of Arabs and Muslims, the network said Friday.
According to reports, Muslim civil liberties and the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, pressured the network to drop the project after Buzzfeed reported Friday that it had obtained a script, and described the show as being “about an American teenage girl kidnapped by her extended royal Saudi Arabian family and forced to live with them."
“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 said in a statement to the Hollywood Reporter.
After ABC Family announced the possible series Wednesday, CAIR called for the network to meet with Muslim and Arab-American community leaders about the potential series.
Yasmin Nouh, a spokesperson for CAIR’s Los Angeles office told Entertainment Weekly that “the portrayal of [this story has] real consequences on Muslims and especially on Muslim youth, not only how others treat them, but in terms of how they see themselves.”
The American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee reportedly welcomed the decision and that it “hopes that the Disney Company will work towards resolving other issues raised, such as the depiction of Arabs in the series "Once Upon a Time," as well as issues surrounding the “Aladdin” musical.”
The “Alice in Arabia” pilot, written by U.S. Army veteran Brooke Eikmeier, was ordered along with two other series, “Recovery Road,” about a teen girl dealing with addiction, and the tennis drama, “Unstrung.”