Avengers: Endgame. Black Panther. Ozark. Stranger Things. They’re all big-budget films and shows that have recently been filmed in the US state of Georgia, which employs thousands of people in the entertainment industry and offers significant tax breaks for filmmakers.
But the state’s booming film industry is now under threat, after several media companies including Netflix, WarnerMedia and Disney threatened to boycott Georgia should its proposed new abortion law come into effect…
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Why are US media companies boycotting Georgia?
Dubbed the “heartbeat bill,” the state’s restrictive law would ban all abortions after a foetal heartbeat is detected — so around six-weeks into a pregnancy.
The proposed law has prompted a fierce backlash within the entertainment industry, while Disney CEO Bob Iger has publicly stated that the new law would make it “very difficult” for Disney to continue filming in the state.
“I think many people who work for us will not want to work there, and we will have to heed their wishes in that regard. Right now, we are watching it very carefully,” Iger said.
Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos has also told Variety that “should it [the law] ever come into effect, we’d rethink our entire investment in Georgia.”
What actors have spoken out against the abortion law?
In addition to big companies like Netflix and Disney, prominent individual members of Hollywood have also threatened to boycott the state.
Jason Bateman, who is filming in Georgia for both Ozark and The Outsider, said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter: “I will not work in Georgia, or any other state, that is so disgracefully at odds with women’s rights.”
Bridesmaids star Kristen Wiig has previously confirmed to CNN that her new comedy “Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar” has pulled out of filming in Georgia due to the bill.
Meanwhile Alec Baldwin, Amy Schumer and Ben Stiller are among the stars who’ve written to the Georgia governor, pledging that they “cannot in good conscience continue to recommend our industry remain in Georgia” should the bill become law.
To @BrianKempGA & Speaker Ralston:
Attached, is an open letter signed by 50 actors against #HB481. On behalf of the undersigned–as people often called to work in GA or those of us contractually bound to work in GA–we hope you'll reconsider signing this bill. #HBIsBadForBusiness pic.twitter.com/DsOmAWYU2x
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) March 28, 2019
What will the ramifications be for Georgia?
The effects of a potential boycott are already coming into effect, after Amazon decided not to scout for locations in Georgia for its new series, The Power.
Steve Mortimore, a location manager who has previously scouted for both Disney and Netflix, revealed to the BBC that a boycott could have “massive ramifications” for the state.
“They have trained so many people to work in the industry, and so many experts have moved there who will have to move away again.”