ABC Cancels Controversial Pilot 'Alice of Arabia' Following Backlash

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.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.