Arts & Culture News

The Wire Creator Refuses To Shoot New Series In Dallas Over Texas Abortion Laws

David Simon, creator for the renowned series The Wire, wants nothing to do with working in Dallas.
David Simon, creator for the renowned series The Wire, wants nothing to do with working in Dallas. Anna Webber/Getty
One of the greatest minds in the 21st century's world of entertainment isn’t about to start his next project if it's filmed in a state that goes against his principles. The Wire creator David Simon had planned to begin production on his next project in North Texas area within the next month. However, it looks like the showrunner renowned for his dedication to accuracy is forgoing authenticity on this one and for a purpose. Simon tweeted this week that he’s refusing to shoot in Texas due to recent abortion decrees by the Lone Star State.

Texas' new fetal heartbeat bill essentially outlaws abortion six weeks after fertilization, before most women realize they are pregnant. It also allows private citizens to sue abortion providers and anyone assisting in the procedure in any way. Other states have tried to invoke similarly restrictive laws, but they don’t have the distinction of giving the power to private citizens to enforce it.

Essentially, anyone who successfully sues an abortion provider can earn as much as $10,000, and Simon said his decision to stop filming in Texas was solely based on protecting the rights of his cast and crew.

“My singular responsibility is to securing and maintaining the civil liberties of all those we employ during the course of a production,” he tweeted on Sept. 20. After a nationwide outcry, Hollywood has responded with its usual tweets and string of think pieces from stars such as Uma Thurman, but Simon is the first one to take an active stance. He hasn’t provided much detail on the project itself, but apparently it's at an early enough stage that Simon has time to add the whole "re-creating the Texas environment" to his budget. His call to action could force other shoots planned for the area to make similar location swaps.

Simon has never been shy about his opinions. As a police reporter at The Baltimore Sun for over a decade, Simon used his in-depth knowledge of the drug smuggling scene and its effects on race relations to craft his breakthrough HBO series The Wire, which ran for five seasons starting in 2002. The renowned drama, which won Emmys and several other awards, was named the second-best TV show of all time by Rolling Stone in 2016. The series explored the intersection of the drug trade and police procedures, shipping ports, city government elections, schoolkids and journalists. Former President Obama cited it as his favorite show of all time and invited Simon to the White House for a discussion about its themes and their effect on his own policies.

Dallas will miss out on Simon’s talents and a production that likely would’ve employed local actors and crewmembers.

Simon is now on the hunt for a DFW look-alike.

"If an employer, this is beyond politics," he tweeted on Sept. 20. "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?"
KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Liam Gaughan has been covering film and television since before he had a driver's license, and in addition to the Observer has been published in, Schmoes Know, Taste of Cinema and The Dallas Morning News. He enjoys checking classic films off of his watchlist and working on spec scripts.