Three of the world’s largest entertainment companies – Netflix, Disney and WarnerMedia – say they could stop producing movies and TV shows in Georgia if the state’s new abortion law comes into effect.
And a fourth, Comcast’s NBCUniversal, claims that the spread of these anti-abortion bills, if upheld by the courts, “would have a significant impact on our decision-making as to where we produce our content at. the future”.
The state is a production hub for the entertainment industry, in part because of the generous tax breaks Georgia offers to filmmakers and producers.
But companies warn they may have to forgo those tax incentives and leave the state – showing their financial muscles in a way that will ensure they get the attention of local political leaders.
Earlier this month, the Governor of Georgia, Brian kemp, signed a bill that would ban abortions if a fetal heartbeat can be detected, usually around six weeks pregnant.
The restrictive new law, if it survives legal challenges from the ACLU and women’s rights groups, is set to take effect January 1st.
As a result, celebrities and some production companies have vowed to boycott Georgia. But the deep pockets of Netflix
(NFLX) and disney
(SAY) means businesses have louder voices. They cite the concerns of liberal-leaning stars and producers who make their comedies, dramas and other productions.
Disney CEO Bob Iger was asked about the situation on Wednesday. He told Reuters it would be “very difficult” for the studio to shoot in Georgia if the new law goes into effect.
“I think a lot of people who work for us will not want to work there, and we will have to take their wishes into account in this regard. Right now we are watching him very carefully, ”said Iger.
He was interviewed at the opening of the new Stars Wars: Edge of the Galaxy land at Disneyland California. But the question has been hanging over Hollywood studios for several weeks now.
When the bill was enacted, the executives of several production companies said they would not shoot in the state. They included Christine Vachon, CEO of Killer Films; David Simon, creator of “The Wire” and “The Deuce” who runs Blown Deadline Productions; and Marc Duplass by Duplass Frères Productions.
Director Morano reed canceled plans to find locations in Georgia for an upcoming Amazon series. And actor Kristen Wiig has said a comedy project has pulled out of the state.
Then came Netflix’s statement on Tuesday.
“We have a lot of women working on productions in Georgia, whose rights, along with millions of others, will be severely restricted by this law,” said Netflix’s chief content officer. Ted sarandos says Variety. “That’s why we will work with the ACLU and others to fight it in court. Since the legislation has not yet been implemented, we will continue to tour on it, while supporting partners and artists who choose not to. But – here’s the but – “if that were to come into effect, we would rethink our entire investment in Georgia.”
AT&T’s WarnerMedia, which is the parent company of HBO, TNT, TBS, CNN and other brands, also said the company could stop producing “new productions” in the state if the bill goes into effect. force.
“We operate and produce work in many states and in multiple countries at one time and while this does not mean that we agree with every position taken by any state or country and their leaders, we respect the due process, ”WarnerMedia said. “We will be monitoring the situation closely and if the new law is in effect, we will reconsider Georgia as the hotbed of any new production. As is always the case, we will work closely with our production partners and talents to determine how and where to shoot a given project.
WarnerMedia has thousands of employees in Georgia, most notably at CNN’s headquarters in Atlanta.
A distinction between existing operations and one-off film and television productions is that employees are generally eligible to vote and engage in state politics, while actors and producers who travel a few months to shoot a film are not. are not.
Former candidate for governor of Georgia Stacey Abrams tweeted on the issue Wednesday night after Iger’s comments were posted.
“Georgia is in danger of losing Netflix and Disney. This means lost jobs for carpenters, hairdressers, food workers and the hundreds of small businesses developed here. Billions of economic investments are directed to states eager to welcome cinema + protect women. She added a hashtag: “Consequences”.
Strict anti-abortion bills were passed this year by Georgia, Mississippi, Ohio, Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri and Louisiana. The bills are designed in part to provoke a legal battle, potentially leading to a Supreme Court review of abortion rights.
NBCUniversal cited this legal reality in its statement on Thursday.
“We expect Heartbeat bills and similar laws in various states to face serious legal issues and will not come into effect while the process unfolds in court,” the company said. “If any of these laws are followed, it would have a big impact on our decision making about where we will produce our content in the future.”