Revolting Hollywood Threatens Georgia

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by Bruce Walker  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  May 30, 2019   

Filmmaking talent threatens to boycott state over pro-life law

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Mostly liberal Hollywood has threatened widespread boycotts of Georgia, a state that had attracted filmmakers in droves due to generous tax subsidies which reimburse filmmakers between 20% and 30% of total costs per production produced in the state. The state's political leaders, however, recently passed into law a bill that renders abortion illegal once an unborn child's heartbeat can be detected.

Disney CEO Robert Iger told Reuters threatened to pull Disney's presence from Georgia if the new law goes into effect in January:

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 it becomes law], I don't see how it's practical for us to continue to shoot there.

Taking a planned feature out of Georgia might mean adding many millions to the budget.

Online streaming platform Netflix as well as film director and the former portrayer of Opie Taylor and Richie Cunningham, Ron Howard, also have indicated they may curtail activities in the Peach State.

Howard, who is scheduled to shoot a film adaption of J.D. Vance's nonfiction bestseller Hillbilly Elegy in Georgia this summer, has said he'll donate some of his income from the project to efforts to overturn the law before it becomes effective next January. If the law goes into effect, Howard says he'll boycott the state. In a statement, Howard and his production partner, Brian Grazer, noted:

We felt we could not abandon the hundreds of women, and men, whose means of support depend on this production — including those who directly contribute on the film, and the businesses in the community that sustain the production. We see Governor Kemp's bill as a direct attack on women's rights, and we will be making a donation to the ACLU to support their battle against this oppressive legislation.

Similarly, Netflix will continue to produce films and series in Georgia until the bill takes effect in January. Afterward, acting talent will either boycott the state or donate income generated there to pro-abortion groups.


Writing at National Review Online, Kyle Smith predicts nothing will come from Netflix's threats to divest in Georgia:

Other states have tax subsidies (notably, New York) but few have such a juicy combination of big subsidies, filmmaking infrastructure, and tiny costs. (Hollywood's main union, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, enforces its high basic rates in New York and Los Angeles, but its members in Georgia and other areas are covered by a cheaper "Area Standards Agreement.") A TV or film production is a delicate thing. Taking a planned feature out of Georgia might mean adding many millions to the budget. A few million in budget is sometimes the difference between a movie getting made, or not. So pulling a project out of Georgia might mean killing it. You might even saying aborting it in its early gestation. Is Hollywood willing to kill its babies because Georgia doesn’t want to kill its? I doubt it.

Previously, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp addressed a petition signed by actors protesting the law. 

"I understand that some folks don’t like this new law. I'm fine with that," he said. "We're elected to do what's right — and standing up for precious life is always the right thing to do."

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