Major entertainment studios have spoken out against Georgia’s “heartbeat” abortion bill in 2019, saying they would “reconsider” production plans in the state if the law goes into effect.
That moment seems to be fast approaching.
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On Monday night, Politico voted that the Supreme Court majority voted Roe v. He reported that he had signed a resolution that would overthrow Wade. Georgia’s law, which would ban abortion from six weeks into pregnancy, has been suspended pending the outcome of this case. If the leaked draft opinion becomes final, the Georgian law will be allowed to go into effect.
So far, no entertainment studio has said what it would do if something like this happened. Warner Bros. Discovery and Sony declined to comment. A Netflix representative could not be reached for comment. A Disney spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment. The Motion Picture Association also declined to comment.
Georgia is a major hub for TV and film production, thanks to a state subsidy that hit a record $1.2 billion last year. Several other states also have significant movie subsidies, including Louisiana, Kentucky, Texas, and Ohio, and most abortions will also be banned if Roe is ousted.
Over the past decade studios have been involved in a number of social issue debates, often encouraged by their own staff in conservative states. Recently, Disney has opposed Florida’s law on sexual orientation and gender identity education in classrooms—which critics call “Gay Speaking”—but only after employees protested.
Georgia passed the heartbeat bill in May 2019, one of a number of states that had passed similar laws at the time. In response, Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo moved their movie “Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar” out of Georgia. David Simon and Mark Duplass promised they wouldn’t film there, and Jason Bateman, star of the Netflix series “Ozark,” said he would no longer work in the state if the law went into effect.
The studios initially remained silent about the law until Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos broke the ranks.
“We have many women in Georgia working in productions with millions of women whose rights will be severely restricted by this law,” said Sarandos. Variation In that case. “So we will work with the ACLU and others to fight him in court. Given that the legislation has not yet been implemented, we will continue to film there while also supporting partners and artists who choose not to do so. If it goes into effect, we will rethink our entire investment in Georgia.”
Other major studios made similar statements soon after. AMC Networks, host of the Georgia-based TV series “The Walking Dead”, said it would “re-evaluate our activities in Georgia” if the law were enacted, while Viacom said it would “assess” whether filming would continue in Georgia.
WarnerMedia – as it was called at the time – said it would “rethink”. (The company has since split from parent company AT&T and merged with Discovery.) Sony said it will “evaluate our future production options.”
NBCUniversal issued a statement that goes beyond Georgia, noting that other states have passed similar laws.
“If any of these laws are passed, it will strongly influence our decision on where to produce our content in the future,” the company said.
Bob Iger, Disney’s then-CEO, said at the time that it would be “very difficult” for the company to continue filming in Georgia if the law were enacted. Disney’s Marvel movies and shows are largely filmed in Georgia.
“I don’t see how practical it is for us to continue shooting there,” he told Reuters. “I think many people who work for us will not want to work there and we should consider their wishes in this regard. We are watching very carefully right now.”
Iger has since resigned, and it’s unclear whether his successor, Bob Chapek, will feel attached to these statements. Chapek has sought to take a more neutral course in hot-button issues, although his attempt to stay out of the Florida controversy was unsuccessful due to employee backlash.
In 2019, some filmmakers were reluctant to sign a boycott – instead promising to contribute to the ACLU and Fair Fight Georgia, founded by Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, while continuing to work in Georgia. Abrams urged companies not to boycott the state and said it was better to “stay and fight”.
If the studios’ goal was to influence abortion policy in Georgia or elsewhere, the “Don’t Say Gay” episode showed some of the limits of corporate power. Far from persuading Governor Ron DeSantis to abandon the so-called Parental Rights in Education Act, Disney’s opposition prompted DeSantis to attack him as an “awakened” company and take action to remove him from a special tax zone in Orlando.
Brent Lang contributed to this report.
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