Hey NBC, Maybe Don’t Make a Sitcom About Sex Trafficking
NBC has officially picked up a “family sitcom” centered around the concept of ordering women from a different country by mail. (Unfortunately, NBC isn’t the one in the biz this week getting in trouble over insensitivity to diversity.)
The “hilarious” topic of the show is also known as human trafficking, a practice typically considered to be not funny. In addition to making light of selling women to strangers, the premise perpetuates Asian stereotypes.
And some people noticed. Change.org is currently hosting a petition to stop this sitcom from airing, which (as of this writing) has blown past 6,000 signatures. The Nerds of Color also wrote about their feelings regarding the show.
Here’s an excerpt from the petition:
“Exploitation and violence against Filipino women is not entertainment! NBC’s “Mail Order Family” is slated as a half hour “comedy” following a widower who purchased a mail order bride from the Philippines. “Mail Order Family” is the most recent example of how the exploitation and violence women face is normalized in U.S. mainstream media. The mail order bride industry in the Philippines is rooted in historical U.S. colonial occupation of the Philippines, feudal-patriarchal view of Filipinas, and current neo-colonial economic policies that have impoverished the Filipino people.”
Definition of Mail Order Brides, via The Nerds of Color
According to NOC, the series is loosely based on comedian Jackie Clarke’s life. Her father had his children look through a catalog for a potential wife to be mailed over from the Philippines, and that’s exactly what happened. Now it’s being turned into a comedy because that sounds so, so funny.
While there’s always the remote possibility that the show handles these issues tastefully and doesn’t make light of negative stereotypes and the horror of sex trafficking, we’re not optimistic. Far be it from us to censor free comic expression — we cautioned against the censure of Melissa Villasenor, for one — but this premise is so inherently offensive that we completely understand why the people this affects are upset. If you’re one of these upset people, the petition link is right here.
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