NAFCON Celebrates Victory with NBC’s Cancellation of Racist “Mail Order Family” TV Show

October 3, 2016

Reference: Terry Valen, NAFCON President, president@nafconusa.org

NAFCON Celebrates Victory with NBC’s Cancellation of Racist “Mail Order Family” TV Show

nbc mail orderOn Friday, September 30, NBC Entertainment executives announced that they will not move forward with the pitch for Mail Order Family after backlash and criticism from Filipino Americans and the larger Asian-American community.  NBC’s Mail Order Family was supposed to be a half-hour comedy about a widower who orders a mail order bride from the Philippines to raise his pre-teen daughters. GABRIELA USA, NAFCON, and Migrante were some of the first Filipino American organizations to respond to this racist and offensive pitch for a TV show by organizing a Change.org petition that garnered 9,000+ signatures in a day and a protest action at the NBC Universal headquarters in Los Angeles. The National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON) considers NBC’s decision to stop the project a huge victory for Filipino Americans, survivors of human trafficking, and the entire community.

NAFCON urges NBC Entertainment to focus on not just providing entertainment for its consumers, but to more deeply understand the diversity and the context of the communities they serve and represent in their shows. According to the Philippine Department of Labor and Employment, over 6,000 Filipinos leave the country every day to find work abroad and provide for their families because they have no livelihood in their home country.

“Can the NBC writers and executives even begin to understand the sacrifice, hardship, and challenges that Filipino immigrants and migrants experience around the world? Filipino migrants face some of the worst forms of discrimination, labor exploitation, human trafficking, injury, and even death,” stated Terrie Cervas, of Gabriela USA.  Human trafficking and forced migration are very serious problems that are rooted in poverty that many Filipino migrants (most of whom are women) face every day.  The forced migration and suffering of Filipino women is not a source of entertainment or cheap laughs.

This is not the first time Filipinos have endured negative portrayals based on racial stereotypes in mainstream media. In the mid-1990s, Filipinas were mentioned as mail-order brides in an episode of Frasier. In 2007, the validity of Filipino doctors was belittled and denigrated in an episode of the American sitcom Desperate Housewives. Further, Filipina housekeepers were “comically” portrayed as sex entertainers in the British comedy show Harry & Paul as well as on the David Letterman Show and Torchwood in 2008.

NAFCON calls on NBC to publicly apologize to the Filipino community, to meet with our representatives and to partner together to educate its company and the larger entertainment industry to better understand and support Filipino migrants and survivors of human trafficking. NAFCON plans to hold community fora with other Asian American advocacy organizations, impacted communities and our supporters, to continue the dialogue about the issue of representation in the media, and the real lived experiences of migrants and trafficking survivors. Through the #Kababayan4Change platform, NAFCON will continue to unite with Filipino organizations and individuals in the U.S. in advocating for progressive reforms in the Philippines, including addressing the poverty, joblessness, landlessness, and corruption that compel many migrants and survivors of human trafficking to look for economic opportunities abroad in the first place.

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Category: Home Slider, Immigrant Rights · Tags:

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