Americans Divided Over Georgia Abortion Law Boycott, Poll Finds

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AMC's 'The Walking Dead' is among the TV shows that film in Georgia.

In a poll of 2,200 adults, 34 percent thought that the action taken by some Hollywood production companies was "appropriate," while 36 percent thought it was "inappropriate."

When actress and activist Alyssa Milano suggested on Saturday that women join her in a sex strike to protest strict abortion legislation passed by Republican-dominated government bodies, liberals and conservatives found some unusual common ground as they both mocked the idea of reproducing a modern-day Lysistrata

"Did Alyssa Milano just see Chi-Raq or," Keep It podcast host and writer Ira Madison III tweeted in response. "Perpetuating the idea that sex is something men demand and women “give up” — rather than want or enjoy — is the opposite of progression," Bitch Media co-founder Andi Zeisler added.

But while criticisms of Milano crossed the political aisle, Americans are split on some Hollywood production companies' response to a strict abortion bill that Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed into law last week. Many in the U.S. are divided on whether it is "appropriate" for production companies to stop filming in Georgia as a response to HB 481, which outlaws abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, a new Hollywood Reporter/Morning Consult poll finds. In a poll of 2,200 adults, 34 percent thought that the moratorium on production was "appropriate," while 36 percent thought it was "inappropriate" and 30 percent had no opinion. 

When broken down by gender, 41 percent of men believed that taking action against the Georgia legislation was inappropriate, while 35 percent thought it was warranted and 24 percent had no opinion. Women were quite literally split: 32 percent of women thought it was appropriate, another 32 percent thought it was inappropriate and 35 percent had no opinion. Liberals were more likely to believe this action was called for (55 percent), while moderates were split and the majority of conservatives argued the action was inappropriate (63 percent).

Five production companies, including Killer Films, David Simon's Blown Deadline Productions, Mark Duplass' Duplass Brother Productions, Nina Jacobson's Colorforce and CounterNarrative films, have all announced that they are ceasing production in Georgia as a result of the bill. While Jordan Peele's and J.J. Abrams' respective production companies, Monkeypaw Productions and Bad Robot, are set to shoot the show Lovecraft County in the state in a few weeks, the two super-producers added to the chorus of condemnation from the entertainment industry, saying in a statement that they "stand with Stacey Abrams and the hardworking people of Georgia" and will donate all of their episodic fees for the season to the ACLU of Georgia and Fair Fight Georgia.

Overall, however, these productions companies are the exception, not the rule, when it comes to protesting abortion-restrictive laws in tax-friendly Georgia. "Film and television production in Georgia supports more than 92,000 jobs and brings significant economic benefits to communities and families," MPAA senior vp communications Chris Ortman told THR in a statement. "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."

As to whether entertainment companies should weigh in, in general, on political or social issues, respondents to the THR/Morning Consult poll were again undecided, though the largest concentration of respondents voted in favor of outspokenness. Forty-seven percent said it was "appropriate" for Hollywood to have its say, while 33 percent was against the practice and 20 percent didn't have an opinion. 

This ambivalence fit in with the respondents' overall uncertainty over political action on the part of companies: While the largest concentration of poll respondents (35 percent) agreed to the notion that companies "should feel free to comment on political issues regardless of the impact on their business if they feel it is the right thing to do," 22 percent didn't believe companies should comment in any scenario, 23 percent only wanted companies to weigh in on issues that impacted their business and 20 percent were undecided.

Overall, most respondents had learned at least something about the "heartbeat bill," which 45 percent supported, 40 percent opposed and 16 percent had no opinion on, and heard about some production companies' boycott. Respondents self-identified as 48 percent male and 52 percent female and 33 percent liberal, 23 percent moderate and 32 percent conservative.