Hollywood producer David Simon, creator of “The Wire,” is boycotting Texas for his next project because of the state’s recently-enacted law banning abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected.
Simon announced on Monday that he was looking elsewhere to film a Texas-based HBO show over the state’s abortion law, claiming to be standing up for his employees’ civil liberties.
“[As] 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?” Simon tweeted.
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
The Dallas Film and Creative Industries Office, which recruits and coordinates film industry projects in the Dallas area, responded to Simon, arguing that he should bring the crew in and vote to change Texas from the inside rather than boycott the state.
“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,” the office tweeted.
Simon insisted, however, claiming he was not boycotting the state, but only looking out for his employees. “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,” he tweeted.
In follow-up tweets, Simon claimed that his decision to skip out on Texas was not a political decision. “Love Austin and San Antonio. Even like Houston some. And you are blissfully unaware that this is not a political decision for us; we can’t ethically ask any female cast/crew to relocate to any state that requires them to forgo civil liberties. The end,” Simon said, responding to a critic pointing out that Texas’ major metropolitan areas are run by Democrats, suggesting that Simon is boycotting them as well.
One critic pointed out that if a female crew member needed an abortion during filming, Simon could pay for that person to travel across state lines to receive an abortion. Simon responded, “1) It affronts the dignity and privacy of every employee to require interstate transport involving a variety of coworkers so that they may obtain health care. 2) The Texas law makes any person/entity civilly liable if they so assist any woman. 3) Texas is f***ed up.”
Texas’ “heartbeat” law went into effect on September 1 after the Supreme Court declined to issue a stay against the law. The court later cited the law’s unique enforcement mechanism, which allows private citizens to sue people who “aid and abet” in an illegal abortion procedure for $10,000, in its justification for not issuing a stay. The court concluded that it did not have standing to interfere until an actual case is tried.
On Saturday, a Texas doctor announced that he had performed an illegal abortion to bait a lawsuit to bring to the courts over the Texas abortion law. As The Daily Wire reported:
Alan Braid, a San Antonio OB/GYN, wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post, titled, “Why I violated Texas’s extreme abortion ban.” Describing his career in Texas, Braid wrote, “When the Supreme Court issued its ruling in Roe v. Wade in 1973, recognizing abortion as a constitutional right, it enabled me to do the job I was trained to do.”
He continued, “For the next 45 years — not including the two years I was away in the Air Force — I was a practicing OB/GYN in Texas, conducting Pap smears, pelvic exams and pregnancy check-ups; delivering more than 10,000 babies; and providing abortion care at clinics I opened in Houston and San Antonio, and another in Oklahoma.”
Braid explained it was “1972 all over again” for him after the new Texas law was passed, which led him to perform an abortion on a woman who was “beyond the state’s new limit.” He argued that he “acted because [he] had a duty of care to this patient, as I do for all patients, and because she has a fundamental right to receive this care.”