David Simon defends decision not to shoot in Texas due to abortion laws: “This is not a political decision for us”

"I just can't have female crew working there with rights impaired"

The Wire creator David Simon has defended his decision not to shoot his forthcoming series in Texas in protest against the state’s new abortion laws.

The US Supreme Court refused to block the bill before its enactment on September 1, which, according to the New York Times, now makes Texas the most restrictive US state in terms of access to abortion services.

It makes no exception for victims of rape or incest, and authorises citizens to sue abortion providers or anyone involved in facilitating an abortion.

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Sharing an article describing the situation in Texas earlier this week (September 20) Simon wrote: “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?”

Simon’s stance was met with criticism from some corners, including from the
Dallas Film & Creative Industries Office, who said that “Laws of a state are not reflective of its entire population,” and that Simon’s move “Only serves to further disenfranchise those that live here.”

In response, Simon said: “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.”

When the liberal politics of many large Texas cities were raised, he said “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.”

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He also dismissed accusations of hypocrisy, based on HBO’s dealings with China. “I’ve never even had an opportunity to consider putting a cast/crew in China, or filming there, or waiting on a check from that country,” he said.

He added: “Even if I’m trying to following this reasoning, and we accept the critique that becasue I am paid by large corps that sell to China, well, so what? I’m not opposed to those same corps putting product into Texas. I just can’t have female crew working there w/rights impaired.”

Earlier this month, meanwhile, Simon penned a tribute to late The Wire actor Michael K Williams via an open essay.

“A short remembrance for a talent, a genuine collaborator and a true friend. What I hope never gets lost is the awareness that Mike genuinely wanted his work to matter; not for fame or reward, but for leaving us all better humans in its wake,” Simon wrote.

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