Television writer and producer David Simon has announced that he will not shoot his upcoming series in Texas due to its extreme abortion law.
“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,” Simon tweeted on Monday. “What else looks like Dallas/Ft. Worth?”
A former journalist, Simon is best known as the creator, showrunner and head writer of the The Wire, an HBO series that tells the story of institutions in the city of Baltimore and their relationship with the illegal drug trade. A scathing critique of the War on Drugs and unencumbered capitalism, The Wire is considered by many to be one of the greatest TV shows ever made. Simon has also overseen a number of other well-received projects at HBO, including Generation Kill, Treme, and The Deuce.
It is still unknown exactly what Simon’s upcoming miniseries is, other than that it is based on real events that occurred in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. HBO has not yet announced the series and it’s clear from the tweet that it is still in the very early stages. Since Simon is currently working on a limited series about police corruption in Baltimore, his Texas project likely won’t materialize for some time.
The Dallas Film and Creative Industries Office voiced its displeasure at the announcement. “Laws of a state are not reflective of its entire population,” tweeted the office. 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.” Simon responded that his decision was not based on “any debate about political efficacy or the utility of any boycott” but rather “securing and maintaining the civil liberties of all those we employ during the course of a production.”
This is the latest example of SB 8, which bans abortions after six weeks and allows almost anyone to sue those they suspect of assisting an abortion, having economic repurcussions. While Texas has long maintained a reputation for a business-friendly environment, the passage of the most extreme anti-choice law in the country has made some employers hesitant to come to and stay in the Lone Star State. Other issues that have occurred under Republican leadership, such as voter suppression laws and the failure of the power grid during the February winter storm, have also chipped away at Texas’ image.
While Simon has repeatedly stated that his decision is not rooted in politics, he has never been one to shy away from political themes in his work. Given Simon’s talent for depicting real-world issues on the small screen, perhaps he should consider making a series about SB 8 in the future.
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