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Hollywood Threatens to Pull Georgia Productions Over Abortion Bill

A view of the Hollywood sign on the Hollywood Hills.

Valery Sharifulin | CASS | Getty Images

Major film and media companies in disney for netflix broke their silence on Georgia’s anti-abortion law.

A number of prominent Hollywood studios said this week they would reconsider filming their projects in the state if the “Heartbeat Law” withstands legal challenges and comes into effect in January 2020. Many believe it violates Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court case that protects a woman’s right to abortion until the fetus is viable.

Georgia law aims to ban almost all abortions because it states that no fetus can be aborted if it has a heartbeat, which occurs as early as the sixth week of pregnancy, often before a woman knows that she is pregnant.

While several companies said they were following due process and would wait to take official action until the legal disputes were resolved, others were clear that filming in Georgia would cease altogether. This could have a big impact on the industry. Currently, the film industry adds approximately $9.5 billion to the Georgian economy.

The studios are unlikely to have to take action for years as the bill is held up in court.

Here’s how big Hollywood companies reacted:

netflix

“We have many women working on productions in Georgia whose rights, along with millions of others, will be severely restricted by this law. That is why we will work with the ACLU and others to fight it before the courts. As the legislation has not yet been implemented, we will continue to film there – while supporting partners and artists who choose not to. Should this ever come into force, we would rethink our entire investment in Georgia.

—Ted Sarandos, Content Director

disney

CEO Bob Iger said it would be “very difficult” to film in Georgia if the abortion law is enforced.

“I rather doubt we will,” Iger said in an interview with Reuters ahead of the grand opening of a new “Star Wars” section at Disneyland. “I think a lot of people who work for us won’t want to work there, and we’ll have to accommodate their wishes in that regard. At the moment we’re watching that very closely.”

If the law goes into effect, “I don’t see how practical it is for us to continue filming there,” he added.

NBCUniversal

“We expect the proposed heartbeat bills and similar laws in various states will face serious legal challenges and will not come into effect while the process unfolds in court. If the one of these laws is confirmed, it would have a significant impact on our decision-making on where we produce our content in the future.”

Warner Media

“We operate and produce work in many states and in multiple countries at any given time and while that does not mean we agree with every position taken by any state or country and their leaders, we do follow due process. We will monitor the situation closely and if the new law holds, we will reconsider Georgia as the home of any new productions. As is always the case, we will work closely with our production partners and talent to determine how and where to shoot a given project.

AMC Networks

“If this very restrictive legislation goes into effect, we will reevaluate our business in Georgia. Similar bills – some even more restrictive – have been passed in several states and have been challenged. It will likely be a long and complicated fight and we are monitoring all this very closely.”

CBS/Showtime

“Creative voices across our industry have expressed deep concern about the recently signed bill in Georgia. The ability to attract top talent is the first step in producing great entertainment content and is always an important consideration. in the place where we film a series.”

“We are monitoring legislative and legal developments in Georgia with the full expectation that the court process will unfold for some time. For now, we will continue to produce our series based there which has production orders for the next season. If the law takes effect in Georgia or elsewhere, those may not be viable locations for our future production.”

sony

“As the MPAA noted, the outcome of Georgia’s ‘Heartbeat Act,’ and similar proposed legislation in other states, will be determined through the legal process. We will continue to monitor that process in close consultation. with our filmmakers and television showrunners, talent and other stakeholders as we consider our future production options.

Viacom

“We are closely monitoring the situation in Georgia and expect the legislation to face significant legal challenges. If the new law takes effect, we will assess whether we will continue to produce projects in Georgia.”

STX Entertainment

In an email to STX employees, CEO Robert Simonds wrote:

“As many of you know, when Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed ‘Fetal Heart Rate’ Bill HB 481 into law on May 7, STX was in pre-production on the film Greenland in Atlanta. , GA. Although the bill has not yet entered into force, we do not believe that it represents the will of the Georgian people.”

“After considering how best to move forward, we believe relocating production would penalize the hundreds of talented crew members who would be abruptly out of work. In an effort to help those struggling on the ground to overturn this legislation, STX will be donating to the ACLU of Georgia If HB 481 ever officially goes into effect, we will reassess filming for any future projects in the state.

Disclosure: Comcast owns NBCUniversal and is the parent company of CNBC.