Many Top Chef fans expressed disappointment over this week’s announcement that the upcoming season will film in Texas. The state just 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,” the popular reality star tweeted. “Houston is one of the most diverse cities in the U.S. Its govt & the majority of its ppl oppose @GovAbbott’s heinous bills.”
“Our show highlights the small businesses that hire the very same women, BIPOC ppl & low-income folks that these laws harm most,” she continued.
The author added that she’s “continuing the fight” on the ground. She said that she’s working with local organizations to try and reverse the abortion bill.
It was announced on Tuesday that Season 19 of Top Chef will film in Texas. The announcement had many viewers debating the “tone deaf” decision.
One fan wrote they had watched every season of the cooking competition show.
“This will be the first season I sit out;” they added. “I will not support an entity that supports TX while it suppresses women’s bodily autonomy and voters’ rights.”
The fan also expressed surprise and dismay that Lakshmi and Gail Simmons were okay with it. Finally, the Twitter user called for a boycott of the show.
Top Chef Host ‘Cool With It?’
Yet another fan was surprised that Lakshmi was ok with the show continuing to shoot in Texas before she made her announcement.
“I’m sure she’s pushed the network to swap cities but assume it’s too late,” he wrote. “Regardless, she needs to publicly address this horrifically tone deaf decision by Bravo.”
It was likely posts like that which did indeed get her to address it.
It still likely came as no surprise that some of her fans were not happy with her explanation.
Several fans felt like Lakshmi was talking out of both sides of her mouth with the announcement. One said she was rewarding Governor Abbott.
“TX needs to be boycotted, and he needs to feel the pain that his actions are causing,” the user wrote. “You and the show are not helping that. So, for the first time, our household will not watch.”
The decision to shoot Top Chef in Texas is a bit surprising considering just how politically active its host is in her personal life.
Last Sunday, she paid tribute to deceased Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
“What a difference a year makes,” the Top Chef host wrote on Instagram next to a photo showing herself and Ginsburg standing side-by-side. “Mourning the loss of this incredible feminist. Not all warriors carry swords. We cannot squander all she stood for. We cannot let dominion over our bodies be handed over to lawmakers and religious zealots.”