The president of the LGBT advocacy organization Human Rights Campaign has called for major Hollywood production studios to boycott the state of Georgia if Gov. Nathan Deal does not veto a religious freedom bill that passed the state legislature this week.
Speaking at the organization’s Los Angeles gala on Saturday, HRC president Chad Griffin acknowledged the “huge economic footprint” that Hollywood holds in the Peach State. Nearly 250 films and television shows were lensed in Georgia last year, with the state’s expansive tax credits providing a major incentive for studios to bring projects there.
“But if this bill (HB 757) is signed into law, your employees, your contractors — all those working on your production are at risk of state-sanctioned discrimination,” Griffin told gala attendees. That is wrong. It’s un-American. It’s an affront on all the values Hollywood prides itself on. And you have the influence and the opportunity to not only defeat this bill, but to send a message that there are consequences to passing dangerous and hateful laws like this.”
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Deal has until May 3 to decide whether to sign or veto the bill, which passed the state legislature earlier this week. The bill would allow faith-based organizations to deny services to anyone who violates their “sincerely held religious beliefs,” and it would require government to provide a “compelling” reason to impede residents’ free exercise of religion. The bill also includes a provision that bars all state and federally prohibited discrimination.
“We’re asking you to join us as we urge TV and film studios, directors and producers, to commit to locating no further productions in the state of Georgia if this bill becomes law,” Griffin said.
Last year, celebrities and business leaders vowed to boycott the state of Indiana after Gov. Mike Pence signed his state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law.