Georgia is once again facing threats of a Hollywood boycott due to controversial legislation.
This time it’s the so-called heartbeat abortion bill, which would ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, sometimes as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. Under the current law, women are allowed to undergo the procedure up until week 20.
On Friday, the bill, titled HB481, was approved in the Georgia General Assembly with a 92 to 78 vote. It’d already passed the House last week. Now, Republican Gov. Brian Kemp — who has publicly expressed his support for the legislation — is expected to sign the bill.
“Georgia values life,” said the governor in a statement following Friday’s vote. “We stand up for the innocent and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. The legislature’s bold action reaffirms our priorities and who we are as a state. I thank these lawmakers for their leadership and applaud their undeniable courage.”
The bill has sparked outrage among many in Hollywood, with celebrities including Alyssa Milano, June Diane Raphael and George Takei already speaking out about the legislation and calling on the industry to boycott filming in Georgia. The state has a robust film and television business and has emerged in recent years as a go-to shooting location for projects outside Los Angeles and New York.
With generous tax incentives that can give up to 30 percent back, 455 productions filmed in Georgia last year, resulting in an estimated $2.7 billion in direct spending in the state. Major projects to shoot in the state include AMC’s The Walking Dead and Netflix’s Ozark and Stranger Things. In addition, Marvel filmed two of its biggest 2018 blockbusters — Black Panther and the latest Avengers film — at Pinewood Studios in Atlanta.
This, of course, isn’t the first time there have been calls for Hollywood filmmakers to pull projects from the state as a result of controversial legislation. A year ago, a similar movement grew in response to an anti-LGBTQ bill that would have made it legal for adoption agencies to not work with same-sex couples.
Around the same time, lawmakers had also approved a bill that would strip Delta of a major tax break, which was largely seen as an unsubtle punishment for the airline’s decision to ax its discount for National Rifle Association members following the Parkland, Fla., shooting. In the end, the threats of a boycott did little to disrupt the state’s thriving film industry.
Boycott Film and Tv in Georgia https://t.co/dDemaKU3DF
— June Diane Raphael (@MsJuneDiane) March 29, 2019
Georgia residents, please speak out, let your local representatives know, #HB481isBadForBusiness.
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) March 29, 2019
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) March 29, 2019
The film industry is now integral to our economy. Ask the carpenters, hairdressers, caterers, electricians & artists from Senoia to Savannah who rely on these jobs to feed their families. For them, for us, Georgia isn’t Hollywood – it’s home. #gapol #HB481IsBadForBusiness
— Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams) March 29, 2019
WGAE and @WGAWest oppose Georgia’s abortion ban legislation #HB481. This draconian anti-choice law would discourage people in our industry from working in Georgia and could harm the state’s vibrant film and television industry. Full statement attached. pic.twitter.com/bAfJkhXSTv
— Writers Guild of America, East (@WGAEast) March 26, 2019