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Group Of Mass. Lawmakers Call To Suspend Any Tax Credits For 'SMILF' Until Harassment Probe Ends

Frankie Shaw arrives at the LA Premiere of "SMILF" at the Harmony Gold Theater in October 2017 in Los Angeles. (Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP)
Frankie Shaw arrives at the LA Premiere of "SMILF" at the Harmony Gold Theater in October 2017 in Los Angeles. (Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP)

A group of Massachusetts state lawmakers are calling for the state to suspend any tax credits Boston-based Showtime series "SMILF" may be receiving until investigations into allegations of on-set harassment and discrimination take place or conclude.

In a letter to the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development citing recent news stories, 14 state legislators, including state Sens. Nick Collins and Sonia Chang-Díaz, described how show employees have accused the production of segregating employees by race and not appropriately compensating or crediting individuals for their work.

"Given the aforementioned allegations," the letter said, "we do not believe that taxpayers in Massachusetts should be subsidizing this production, especially not until an independent investigation has been completed." The letter also includes the names of state Reps. Carlos Gonzalez, Russell Holmes, Bud Williams, Frank Moran, Chynah Tyler, Jose Tosado, Aaron Vega, Andy Vargas, Jon Santiago, Liz Miranda, Marcos Devers and Nika Elugardo.

A studio investigation is currently underway into the behavior of show creator and lead Frankie Shaw, a Brookline native. Shaw has said she was learning on the job during the filming of Season 1 and has learned lessons from it.

The letter from legislators comes one day after the founder of The New Democracy Coalition wrote his own letter to Collins and the Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus expressing concern about the allegations and the show's connection to Boston.

Projects filmed in Massachusetts that spend more than $50,000 in qualified expenditures are eligible to apply for a 25 percent tax credit.

Neither letter indicated if "SMILF" had applied for tax credits for 2019.

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Hannah Chanatry Contributor
Hannah Chanatry is a freelance arts writer whose work has appeared in CommonWealth Magazine and the Syracuse Post-Standard.

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