Belfast Telegraph

Editor's Viewpoint: Calls for a copycat entertainment industry boycott due to our strict abortion laws are unwise and simplistic

It has prompted a growing boycott by the entertainment industry, including leading actors, from working in the state, though media giants Disney and Netflix, who have been filming there, have not yet commented on Northern Ireland, where many films have been made and where abortion laws are even stricter.
It has prompted a growing boycott by the entertainment industry, including leading actors, from working in the state, though media giants Disney and Netflix, who have been filming there, have not yet commented on Northern Ireland, where many films have been made and where abortion laws are even stricter.

Editor's Viewpoint

Abortion is a sensitive subject, and once again the issue is making headlines in Northern Ireland. This follows the proposed new laws in Georgia in the United States which would ban women seeking an abortion after six weeks.

It has prompted a growing boycott by the entertainment industry, including leading actors, from working in the state, though media giants Disney and Netflix, who have been filming there, have not yet commented on Northern Ireland, where many films have been made and where abortion laws are even stricter.

While there are many different views on abortion, it is welcome to hear people from all sides rejecting a boycott. For example, Derry Girls writer Lisa McGee says she is opposed to a boycott, as is Richard Williams of NI Screen. He believes actors and others working here should use their status "to call out that which they believe must change".

This is not just an important moral issue. There are also significant economic issues associated with it.

The film and television industry has been hugely beneficial locally. That is not only with the success of Game Of Thrones, but in many other productions with varying profiles.

The large amount of income generated here has benefited many people financially.

History has taught us that boycotts are generally not a good idea, and people here may be asking why abortion should be singled out as a focus for a boycott by the entertainment industry?

They might also ask: why not consider a boycott because of other issues such as the failure of our politicians to agree on a Stormont administration, or the continued sickening violence of our paramilitaries, which still seems unending despite all the attempts to stop it?

There are many troublesome realities which might make people reconsider working in Northern Ireland, but this crucial point remains - the people who resort to targeting an economic driver for getting what they want are using a crude instrument that smacks of the playground bully.

Abortion is a complex subject that brings out strong emotions on all sides. This is a time for cool heads and common sense all-round as the debate continues.

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