Padma Lakshmi defends 'Top Chef' filming in Texas despite 'heinous' abortion law

Many Top Chef fans expressed disappointment over this week's announcement that the upcoming season will film in Texas as the state passed one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country. Padma Lakshmi spoke out amid the outcry calling the bill "heinous," but defended production's decision to shoot in Houston for one main reason.

"Texans are up against so much right now- a hateful anti-abortion bill, erasure of voting rights, and a humanitarian & Constitutional crisis at the border. Houston is one of the most diverse cities in the U.S. Its govt & the majority of its ppl oppose @GovAbbott's heinous bills," the longtime Top Chef host tweeted on Wednesday. "Our show highlights the small businesses that hire the very same women, BIPOC ppl & low-income folks that these laws harm most."

Our show highlights the small businesses that hire the very same women, BIPOC ppl & low-income folks that these laws harm most.

Only 11% of Americans believe that abortion should be illegal.

The govt doesn’t have the right to force ppl to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term.

— Padma Lakshmi (@PadmaLakshmi) September 23, 2021

The author added that "she's continuing this fight" on the ground in Texas with local organizations.

@MonmouthPoll: only 11% of Americans say abortion should always be illegal

24% say it should be illegal except for rape, incest, or to save the mother’s lifehttps://t.co/N3IyCFMHJc

— Padma Lakshmi (@PadmaLakshmi) September 23, 2021

It was announced on Tuesday Season 19 of the popular cooking competition show will film in Texas, with many viewers debating the "tone deaf" decision. 

I have watched every single #TopChef episode since S1E1. This will be the first season I sit out; I will not support an entity that supports TX while it suppresses women's bodily autonomy and voters' rights. @PadmaLakshmi and @gailsimmons are okay with this? #BoycottTopChef

— Min (@letos_refuge) September 22, 2021

There is no way @PadmaLakshmi can be cool with this. I’m sure she’s pushed the network to swap cities but assume it’s too late? Regardless, she needs to publicly address this horrifically tone deaf decision by Bravo.

— Drew Hilton (@EvilRbt) September 22, 2021

Houston does not equal Texas. While we reside in the state, this city is everything the current legislature isn’t. I’m hoping this highlights the real Texas and helps us progress past the current regime. #houston

— CC de Firmino👑 🇧🇷😁🌱🛹 (@TStewPrincess14) September 21, 2021

Why? Houston is the most diverse city in America and the food scene is amazing.

— Živilee 🛹 (@zivinilee) September 21, 2021

I think the issue is while Houston is blue any money generated by the show won’t stay in Houston and money talks to republicans so if it seemed the state would be financially affected it may make a lil difference!

— Flirty 40 (@40andfancyfree) September 22, 2021

The move is being compared to David Simon's announcement he will not shoot an upcoming HBO series in Texas as originally planned over the law. The Wire creator doubled down on his decision on Thursday despite some criticism saying his "boycott" is hurting people on the ground that need the work.

"Dead wrong. I am mute on any boycott. I am instead an employer and I personally must decide if it is ethical to ask employees to enter a jurisdiction which requires them to forgo THEIR civil liberties. It is not ethical for me to do so. Texas requires this forced move. Not me," he replied to one person.

Simon didn't stop there.

It hurts women more. And my company is asking for the labor of women. They are all entitled to film where their basic rights remain intact. https://t.co/HvZxf2G0f8

— David Simon (@AoDespair) September 23, 2021

Many celebrities have spoken out against Gov. Abbott. In a powerful op-ed against the law on Tuesday, Uma Thurman shared she got an abortion after she was "accidentally impregnated by a much older man" while in her late teens.

"In revealing the hole that this decision carved in me, I hope that some light will shine through, reaching women and girls who might feel a shame that they can't protect themselves from and have no agency over," she penned for Washington Post. "I can assure you that no one finds herself on that table on purpose."

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