David Simon defends decision to pull HBO series from Texas following abortion ban

Wire creator responds to backlash, saying decision is part of effort to ‘maintain the civil liberties’ of production employees

David Simon, creator of The Wire, announced that he will not be filming an upcoming HBO series in Texas because of the state’s abortion ban that passed earlier this month.

While the specific HBO project has not been announced, Simon said that the restrictive abortion law passed in Texas, which bans the procedure after about six weeks and allows citizens to sue doctors and others who help people access procedures, motivated his decision to film in other locations.

“[As] an employer, this is beyond politics,” Simon wrote on Twitter. “I’m turning in scripts next month on an HBO non-fiction miniseries based on events in Texas, but I can’t and won’t ask female cast/crew to forgo civil liberties to film there. What else looks like Dallas/Ft. Worth?”

If an employer, this is beyond politics. I’m turning in scripts next month on an HBO non-fiction miniseries based on events in Texas, but I can’t and won’t ask female cast/crew to forgo civil liberties to film there. What else looks like Dallas/Ft. Worth? https://t.co/q6Py6XikYh

— David Simon (@AoDespair) September 20, 2021

Not everyone has embraced Simon’s announcement, with critics arguing that refusing to film in Texas hurts working professionals in the state and diverts critical resources.

“Laws of a state are not reflective of its entire population. Not bringing a production to Dallas (a big ‘D’) only serves to further disenfranchise those that live here. We need talent/crew/creatives to stay & vote, not get driven out by inability to make a living,” wrote the Dallas Film & Creative Industries Office in response to Simon’s announcement.

.@AoDespair -Laws of a state are not reflective of its entire population. Not bringing a production to Dallas (a big "D") only serves to further disenfranchise those that live here. We need talent/crew/creatives to stay & vote, not get driven out by inability to make a living. https://t.co/DxD46z0nNu

— Dallas Film & Creative Industries Office (@DallasCommish) September 20, 2021

Simon responded to the tweet, stating that his intentions were being misunderstood.

“You misunderstand completely. My response is NOT rooted in any debate about political efficacy or the utility of any boycott. My singular responsibility is to securing and maintaining the civil liberties of all those we employ during the course of a production.”

Following the Texas decision, several film industry professionals, including the Oscar winner Patricia Arquette, called for a “boycott” of the Lone Star state. And other employers have also been making business decisions based on the bill: the Salesforce CEO, Mark Benioff, has offered his employees in Texas the option of relocating with support from the company.

Contributor

Gloria Oladipo

The GuardianTramp

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