Mar 18 3:30 PM

Does 'Alice in Arabia' perpetuate stereotypes and orientalism?



The cable and satellite television channel ABC Family has added a drama pilot called "Alice in Arabia" to its slate for this season, which many online are calling bigoted.

"Alice in Arabia" tells the story of an American teenager who is kidnapped by her extended family in Saudi Arabia and is forced to survive in a land that is foreign to her as she figures out a way home.

The president of ABC Family Tom Ascheim issued a statement that said the channel is known for "diverse stories that challenge as well as entertain" viewers, but many say the show perpetuates negative stereotypes of Arabs and Muslims. 

The following is a summary of the show:

"Alice in Arabia is a high-stakes drama about a rebellious American teenage girl who, after tragedy befalls her parents, is unknowingly kidnapped by her extended family, who are Saudi Arabian. Alice finds herself a stranger in a new world but is intrigued by its offerings and people, whom she finds surprisingly diverse in their views on the world and her situation. Now a virtual prisoner in her grandfather’s royal compound, Alice must count on her independent spirit and wit to find a way to return home while surviving life behind the veil. The pilot was written by Brooke Eikmeier, who previously served in the U.S. Army as a cryptologic linguist in the Arabic language, trained to support NSA missions in the Middle East. She left service in September 2013 as a rank E-4 specialist."

Related

Find Al Jazeera America on your TV

Get email updates from Al Jazeera America

Sign up for our weekly newsletter

Get email updates from Al Jazeera America

Sign up for our weekly newsletter