Major Studios Disregard Abortion Safety Protocol Requests From Hollywood Writers, Directors and Showrunners

·3 min read
Media day at the Hollywood Sign to observe it’s repainting November 16, 2005 in Hollywood, California.
Media day at the Hollywood Sign to observe it’s repainting November 16, 2005 in Hollywood, California.

Despite nearly 1,500 male and female writers, showrunners, and directors banding together to write respective collective letters requesting that major studios and streamers like Netflix, Disney, Apple, Warner Bros. and more expand safety protocols for pregnant women in anti-abortion states, nearly every last company has seemingly ignored their request.

According to Deadline, AMC Networks, Amazon Studios, Apple TV+, NBCUniversal, Netflix, Paramount, The Walt Disney Company, Warner Bros. Discovery collectively responded back to the letters just hours before their deadline and essentially expressed that while they “share the concerns” brought forth by the Hollywood power players, they deferred to their individual healthcare policies at each company and “unions and management trustees.”

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The studios also failed to specifically address the requests for them to stop “all political donations to anti-abortion candidates and political action committees immediately” as well as “criminal and civil indemnification for anyone helping an employee obtain an abortion.”

Lionsgate, who was initially sent the letter from writers back in July, was interestingly not listed as a signee on the collective letter from the studios. It remains to be seen what further action the writers, directors and showrunners will take after receiving this response.

The studios and streamers’ response in full is below:

Thank you for your letter of July 28, 2022. We share your concerns around the health, safety and well-being of our dedicated employees and the people who support our productions. We believe they should have access to safe and effective health care, and their privacy should be protected.

Each of our individually designed corporate health plans provides comprehensive health care coverage for our respective employees. We have been independently updating our respective employees – who live and work throughout the country – as plans and policies change and expand to provide reproductive care and other support now needed in states that have restricted or outlawed abortion access.

Most workers on scripted film and TV productions are covered by industry health plans that are jointly administered by union and management trustees under the collective bargaining framework. In partnership with various industry health plan staff and the union trustees on those plans, our management trustees worked swiftly to review existing health benefits, and several of these industry health plans have already adopted amendments providing for reimbursement for travel expenses associated with securing abortion services for participants and their dependents who reside or work in states where such services cannot be lawfully obtained. We understand the other industry health plans will be considering similar changes this month. The participants in the various industry plans have been receiving communications directly from the plans about these amendments.

We are pleased that our industry partners have quickly addressed this important issue and are committed to continuing to evaluate ways that we can best provide for our employees and workers who support our productions.

We want to assure you that we are individually focused on supporting the health, safety, well-being and privacy of our respective employees and those who support our productions as we continue to monitor this evolving situation. We look forward to working with you to continue to make great content for our audiences around the world.

Signed,

AMC Networks, Amazon Studios, Apple TV+, NBCUniversal, Netflix, Paramount, The Walt Disney Company, Warner Bros. Discovery