3 Production Companies Pledge Boycott of Georgia over ‘Heartbeat’ Abortion Law

Pro-choice activists block the road against US Capitol Police, who are escorting the March For Life's path, in front of the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, January 22, 2015. Tens of thousands of Americans who oppose abortion are in Washington for the annual March for Life, marking the 42nd …
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Three film industry companies thus far say they will no longer shoot in Georgia unless the state’s new “Heartbeat” abortion law is repealed.

David Simon’s Blown Deadline Productions, Killer Films CEO Christine Vachon, and Mark Duplass have vowed to boycott the state, noted Hollywood Reporter.

The three production companies, however, appear to be in the minority when Georgia is considered the “number one filming location in the world,” as Georgia Film, Music and Digital Entertainment Office’s deputy commissioner reported.

In March, actress and political activist Alyssa Milano called for Hollywood film companies to boycott the state once its Senate passed the measure.

Hollywood writers guilds also threatened a boycott if the Heartbeat bill was signed into law.

Georgia is attractive to the companies, however, because the state provides up to 30 percent back in tax incentives. According to the Reporter, AMC’s The Walking Dead and Netflix’s Ozark and Stranger Things are all shot in the state. Additionally, Marvel filmed both the Black Panther and its latest Avengers movie in Atlanta.

IndieWire reported Hollywood appears “unwilling to stand for abortion rights like it did for LGBTQ rights in Georgia.”

The report continued on what occurred after Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) signed the bill into law Tuesday:

[O]n Tuesday afternoon, there was near silence on social media from those who signed actress Alyssa Milano’s March 28 letter threatening that boycott. On Instagram and Twitter, pro-female voices in Hollywood were more likely posting about last night’s Met Gala or Jessica Chastain’s criticism of the portrayal of rape in “Game of Thrones,” than Georgia’s abortion rights.

Georgia previously faced boycott threats over its anti-LGBTQ legislation in 2016, when HB 757 would have allowed faith-based organizations to deny services to LGBTQ individuals. Disney, Fox, Time Warner, Netflix and Sony publicly let then-Governor Deal know they’d pull out of the state should he sign the bill. At this writing, no productions have announced their intentions, on or off the record, to leave the state.

Since the IndieWire report, Vachon tweeted Thursday that Killer Films, which produced movies such as Vox Lux, First Reformed, and Carol, “will no longer consider Georgia as a viable shooting location until this ridiculous law is overturned”:

David Simon, creator of The Wire and The Deuce, and head of Blown Deadline Productions, tweeted Wednesday:

“I can’t ask any female member of any film production with which I am involved to so marginalize themselves or compromise their inalienable authority over their own bodies,” he wrote. “I must undertake production where the rights of all citizens remain intact. Other filmmakers will see this.”

Then, on Thursday, Simon tweeted:

“Can only speak for my production company,” he posted. “Our comparative assessments of locations for upcoming development will pull Georgia off the list until we can be assured the health options and civil liberties of our female colleagues are unimpaired.”

Also, on Thursday, Mark Duplass, of Duplass Brothers Productions, which has arranged for four movies with Netflix, tweeted:

“Don’t give your business to Georgia,” he wrote. “Will you pledge with me not to film anything in Georgia until they reverse this backwards legislation?”

Nevertheless, the Reporter noted that the Motion Picture Academy of America (MPAA) — which represents the five major film studios — says it will wait to make its final decision, based on how the law fares in the courts.

“Film and television production in Georgia supports more than 92,000 jobs and brings significant economic benefits to communities and families,” said Chris Ortman, MPAA senior vice president of communications, adding:

It is important to remember that similar legislation has been attempted in other states, and has either been enjoined by the courts or is currently being challenged. The outcome in Georgia will also be determined through the legal process. We will continue to monitor developments.

After signing the bill into law, Kemp told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the state’s “business environment’s good.”

“We cannot change our values of who we are for money,” he said. “And we’re not going to do that. That’s what makes our state great.”

“For people to want to boycott the state because we are protecting life at the heartbeat — I don’t understand that,” the governor asserted.

The law, titled the Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act (HB 481), prohibits abortions in the state after a heartbeat is detected, usually at about six weeks of pregnancy. Cases of rape, incest, or if the life of the mother is in danger are exceptions to the law.

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