NBC Adjusts Its Focus on Arabs

APPARENTLY NBC felt the ``Santa Barbara'' story line described in the adjoining article called for an apology. The network offered one, after Arab-American and Muslim groups around the United States protested the image of Arabs emerging from the show. One organization, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), demanded an end to that plot line and asked to meet with NBC producers. In its response to the ADC letter, NBC has acknowledged ``unfortunate and misleading stereotypical portrayals'' and said the offending story line has ended.

``The `Santa Barbara' staff is going to hold meetings on the East Coast with various Arab groups,'' says Amal Benedict, an ADC spokesperson. ``We want to give them a true idea of what Arabs are. The stereotyping that has gone on is just not factual.''

Since the Gulf crisis, ``there is definitely more focus on Arabs in network drama,'' she says, ``and they're being portrayed as villains. A lot of it is ``just fabrications of a Hollywood writer's mind who is out to make a fast buck.'' She points to Arabs portrayed as demeanors of women - even rapists - and cast in other prejudicial ways.

But in its ADC letter, NBC stresses that, ``Everyone has been resensitized to the importance of the concerns'' raised.

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