Soon after Netflix made the announcement that they'd reconsider continuing productions in the state of Georgia, Walt Disney followed suit.
As a protest against the anti-abortion bill that made its way through Georgia lawmakers, several actors came together to declare that they will not work in the state anymore, given that Georgia is the hub of film and TV production. Now, according to The New York Times, Netflix has also spoken up against the law and Ted Sarandos, their chief content officer, said the company would “rethink our entire investment in Georgia” if the bill is passed. “We have many women working on productions in Georgia, whose rights, along with millions of others, will be severely restricted by this law,” Ted Sarandos said in an exclusive statement to Variety. “It’s why we will work with the ACLU ( American Civil Liberties Union) and others to fight it in court. Given the legislation has not yet been implemented, we’ll continue to film there, while also supporting partners and artists who choose not to. Should it ever come into effect, we’d rethink our entire investment in Georgia.”
On May 7, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed a bill that made abortion illegal after the detection of a fetal heartbeat. The "heartbeat bill" only gives women around 6 weeks time to get an abortion if that's what they decide. But, a day after six weeks, and it becomes a punishable offense. The thing is, not everyone knows they're pregnant within a month. By 6 weeks, they probably have no idea what's happening, but since a fetal heartbeat has been detected, they can't get an abortion.
Since then Hollywood celebrities have been following the developments of the bill closely, and close to 40 actors delivered an open letter to Kemp demanding the bill be rejected. “We can’t imagine being elected officials who have to say to their constituents, ‘I enacted a law that was so evil, it chased billions of dollars from our state’s economy,’” read the letter, signed by actors like Amy Schumer, Sean Penn, Mia Farrow, and Laverne Cox.
“It’s not the most effective campaign slogan, but rest assured we’ll make it yours should it come to pass,” the note concluded. But, not everyone seems to be on board with Hollywood boycotting the bill. Charles Bowen, an entertainment lawyer and founder of the Savannah Film Alliance, claims it is “absurd” for Hollywood to start a boycott. “Let’s let a federal court throw this thing out,” he said. “If it went into effect, you’d have a much bigger problem here. The Republican legislators don’t care at all about whether you say you’re going to come and film here. It’s really an absurd approach to trying to make a change in the law.”
Politicians based out of Georgia and conservatives themselves haven't been shy to hide their anger towards the oppression. “You’re not from Georgia. You don’t live in Georgia. You’re not a voter in Georgia. You come here to fulfill a contract to make money and then go home,” says Rep. Dominic LaRiccia, the Governor’s floor leader. “You can’t come to a conservative state and put your hand out, and let us put a lot of money in that hand, and then slap us in the face with the other hand.” LaRiccia added he'd try to convince the movie industry to stay, but “if they back me into a corner with a boycott, I have to give ’em the old South Georgia [saying], ‘Don’t let the door hit you where the good Lord split you.’”
Soon after Netflix made the announcement that they'd reconsider continuing productions in the state of Georgia, Walt Disney Co. too, followed suit, with their CEO Bob Iger saying that Georgia’s new strict abortion law would make it “very difficult” for the media company to keep filming in the state, according to The Guardian. “I rather doubt we will,” Iger said in an interview.
“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.” If the law takes effect, “I don’t see how it’s practical for us to continue to shoot there,” he added. The industry in Georgia is responsible for more than 92,000 jobs according to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and according to the state, more than 455 productions were shot in the state.