Shonda Rhimes, Ava DuVernay and other TV showrunners demand protocols to protect pregnant employees

Some of the TV industry’s biggest showrunners and writers are calling on companies to protect pregnant employees who work in states that have banned abortion following a reversal Roe v. Wade.

The letter they sent to senior executives of some of the biggest players in the industry, obtained and shared by Varietyis signed by top talents such as Shonda Rhimes, Issa Rae, Amy Sherman-Palladino, Natasha Lyonne, Ava DuVernay and more than four hundred others.

“We, the undersigned, are 411 show creators, showrunners, and editors currently working across all networks and streaming platforms in the industry today, including those controlled by Netflix,” the letter begins. “It is unacceptable to ask anyone to choose between their human rights and their job.”

They explain that they are concerned about the lack of protocols in place to protect their employees. They note that companies like Netflix are “currently underway in states where abortion is illegal or pending criminalization.”

The terms they ask for are:

● Published policies and procedures for providing abortion travel subsidy to employees of your productions, including specific information on how employee medical confidentiality will be protected.
● Protocols outlining the scope of medical care for employees of your productions, including ectopic pregnancies and other pregnancy complications that require medical treatment through 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 protocols or provides information about Netflix policy and guidelines to an employee seeking an abortion.
● Pledge to immediately cease all political donations to anti-abortion candidates and political action committees.

It’s a huge position, and given that people like Shonda Rhimes are responsible for their biggest international works, where they make a lot of their income, I hope they feel inspired to act on it. The letter also states that “an immediate written response is required and expected within ten working days of July 28, 2022.”

While the letter shared with Variety is Netflix-focused, they note letters have been sent to Paramount, Lionsgate, Amazon, Disney, Warner Bros., AMC, and more.

(Going through Varietyimage: Jerod Harris/Getty Images)

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