NBC will not move forward with “Mail Order Family” after news of the network’s plan to develop the comedy from Universal Television sparked an online backlash. According to a NBCUniversal spokesperson, the creators have decided not to proceed with the project, which was in very early stages of development.
“Mail Order Family,” from “Superstore” writer-producer Jackie Clarke and executive producers Ruben Fleischer and David Bernad was to tell the story of a widower who orders a bride from the Philippines to raise his two young daughters. It was loosely based on Clarke’s own family.
A Change.org petition protesting the project was launched Thursday, one day after news of the show’s development was first reported. By early Friday evening, it had garnered 9,169 signatures.
“We purchased the pitch with the understanding that it would tell the creator’s real-life experience of being raised by a strong Filipina stepmother after the loss of her own mother,” an NBC spokesperson said. “The writer and producers have taken the sensitivity to the initial concept to heart and have chosen not to move forward with the project at this time.”
The Change.org petition complained that the project glorified racial stereotypes and human trafficking.
“’Mail Order Family’ is the most recent example of how the exploitation and violence women face is normalized in U.S. mainstream media,” the petition read. “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.”
— Cynthia Littleton contributed to this report.