A letter was sent on behalf of some of the industry’s top talent yesterday demanding that Disney, Netflix, NBC Universal, Apple, and more create protocols that protect employees living in states where abortion laws threaten their health and freedoms.
First published by Variety, the communication boasts 411 signatures including household names such as Shonda Rhimes, Mindy Kaling, Sara Bareilles, Lena Dunham, and hundreds more who are largely responsible for the success of the companies.
Their message to top-level executives opens with an expression of “grave concern” for the lack of protections currently in place in the wake of the overturning of Roe v. Wade:
We, the undersigned, are 411 show creators, showrunners and head writers who currently work across every network and streaming platform in the industry today, including those controlled by Netflix.
We have grave concerns about the lack of specific production protocols in place to protect those at work for Netflix in anti-abortion states.
It is unacceptable to ask any person to choose between their human rights and their employment. This situation raises basic matters of equality, health, and safety in the workplace. Many of us would not have the careers and families we have today if we had not been granted the freedom to choose what was best for ourselves. We are committed, as a group, to protecting our fundamental human rights and those of our colleagues.
Currently, any pregnant person working on one of your productions in states that have criminalized abortion does so at great risk. It is important that Netflix understands these risks and has comprehensive solutions in place. The purpose of this letter is to review your current safety protocols and protections on this vital matter to determine whether or not we will continue to work in these high risk environments.
The signed go on to list specific demands, with a response deadline of 10 days from the date of the letter, July 28, 2022. The 400+ employees are seeking the following:
● Published policies and procedures to provide an abortion travel subsidy for employees of your productions including specific information on how the employee’s medical privacy will be safeguarded.
● Protocols outlining the scope of medical care for employees of your productions, including ectopic pregnancies and other pregnancy complications that require medical treatment via abortion while working for Netflix.
● Policy regarding criminal and civil legal protection, including indemnification and defense against liability, for any member of a production who facilitates Netflix’s protocols or provides Netflix’s policy information and guidelines to an employee seeking an abortion.
● Pledge to discontinue all political donations to anti-abortion candidates and political action committees immediately.
With legal representation in place, and many projects currently in production in states where abortion is illegal, the creators are pushing for a quick turnaround to establish and secure their protections in writing as soon as possible.
How do you think the networks should respond? Let us know your thoughts below.