Time Warner Urges Georgia Governor to Veto Religious Liberty Bill

Hollywood's make or break Moments: 4 - Time Warner - H 2015
Andrew Burton/Getty Images

"We strongly oppose the discriminatory language and intent of Georgia's pending religious liberty bill," the entertainment conglomerate said in a statement.

Time Warner joined Disney, Viacom and AMC in protest of Georgia's religious liberty bill, HB 757, which critics say is an anti-gay measure that aims to legalize discrimination in the state.

"At Time Warner, diversity in all its forms is core to our value system and to the success of our business," the company said in a statement released Thursday morning. "We strongly oppose the discriminatory language and intent of Georgia's pending religious liberty bill, which clearly violates the values and principles of inclusion and the ability of all people to live and work free from discrimination."

Time Warner urged Gov. Nathan Deal to reject the legislation.

"All of our divisions — HBO, Warner Bros. and Turner — have business interests in Georgia but none more than Turner, an active participant in the Georgia Prospers campaign, a coalition of business leaders committed to a Georgia that welcomes all people," the statement reads. Time Warner's CNN is based in Atlanta. "Georgia bill HB 757 is in contradiction to this campaign, to the values we hold dear, and to the type of workplace we guarantee to our employees. We urge Governor Deal to exercise his veto."

The Free Exercise Protection Act extends protections to any faith-based entity that refuses to perform services that "violate such faith-based organization's sincerely held religious belief." It also requires that the government prove a "compelling governmental interest" before interfering with a person's exercise of religion.

The Republican governor responded to earlier versions of the bill by saying he would reject any measure that "allows discrimination in our state in order to protect people of faith." However, on March 18, Deal said he was "pleasantly surprised" that lawmakers came to a compromise on the bill. He said he faces a "difficult decision on a very difficult subject" and stressed that he aims to make the "best decision for the people of [Georgia] as a whole."

Gov. Deal has until May 3 to decide whether he will veto the bill.

On Saturday, Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin asked the entertainment industry to boycott the state if the bill becomes law. "It's an affront on all the values Hollywood prides itself on," said Griffin.

On Wednesday, Disney said it would boycott Georgia if Deal signs the controversial bill. "Disney and Marvel are inclusive companies, and although we have had great experiences filming in Georgia, we will plan to take our business elsewhere should any legislation allowing discriminatory practices be signed into state law," the company said in a statement.

AMC Networks and Viacom also spoke out against the bill on Wednesday. 

Georgia offers tax incentives of up to 30 percent for the film and TV industry. In fiscal year 2015, 248 feature film and television productions were filmed in the state. The movies and television shows produced in Georgia generated an economic impact of $6 billion in fiscal year 2015, the Georgia Department of Economic Development reports.