Some Maui residents are objecting to the latest MTV reality show, “Maui Fever,” saying its sexual content and all-white cast gives viewers a skewed impression of their island.
The first episode highlights a group of men who target tourists for fast, easy, and noncommittal hookups.
Previews for the eight-episode series — which airs on MTV Wednesdays at 10:30 p.m. — hint at cheating, fighting, partying and hooking up. The first episode aired last week.
“I don’t want (tourists) to come to Maui and think that people are going to come up to their daughters, so ‘I better keep them away,”’ Nathan Ugale, 16, who was born and raised in Lahaina told The Maui News. “It’s good for TV but not when it’s happening in the town that you live in, that you’ve been a part of your whole life.”
Abcde Shibao, 16, also of Lahaina, said Maui residents come across as one-dimensional in the program.
“I thought it was kind of insulting. ... They just show partying,” Abcde Shibao, 16, of Lahaina told the newspaper. “But (young people are) active in school, community and sports. We do other things besides partying.”
Other objections stem from how the show fails to represent the ethnic and cultural makeup of Maui.
The show’s seven main stars — two women and five men — are all Caucasian.
According to the 2000 census, Maui County is 31 percent Asian, 10 percent Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, and 22 percent mixed race. Caucasians account for 33 percent of the county, which includes the small islands of Lanai and Molokai along with Maui.
None of the players was born on Maui, though three graduated from Maui schools.
“(The show) is a really good idea, but these people aren’t from here,” said Kim Cabanilla, 18, of Lahaina. “The haole thing is not a big deal, but I’d like to see people who are from here.” “Haole” is local slang for white.
Series creator Morgan J. Freeman told the Honolulu Advertiser that casting was a challenge because of the need to find a group of people who already were friends and who didn’t mind getting intimate on television.
“You can only film people who are willing to be filmed, and a lot of the people we wanted (for a more diverse cast) didn’t want to be filmed. You can’t control that,” Freeman said. He added some of the supporting characters are nonwhite.
Freeman said Maui was an ideal setting for the show because of its exotic backdrops and spicy mix of tourists and locals.
“There’s an allure to the tropics and to Hawaii, and of living on a tropical island and being on permanent vacation,” Freeman said.
State Film Commissioner Donne Dawson said her office was unaware of the show’s details when producers pitched the idea.
She added that film permits can’t be denied based on content, unless a proposed project violates state pornography laws or other state rules.
Dawson and Benita Brazier, Maui County film commissioner, said her office hasn’t heard whether the show would be shooting a second season.