[image-1] Amazon, Netflix, and Disney are already canceling productions or threatening to look outside Georgia on the heels of the state passing a restrictive new abortion law as South Carolina politicians consider a similar law.
Georgia’s new abortion law bans abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected — as early as six weeks, sometimes before a woman knows she’s pregnant. The bill will become law in January 2020 if unchallenged.
The South Carolina House of Representatives passed a similar bill earlier this month, but the Senate will not consider it until the legislature returns in January. Gov. Henry McMaster assured the S.C. Republican Party state convention that he would sign the bill if it reached his desk.
On a related note, The Handmaid’s Tale season three drops on Hulu June 5.
The S.C. Film Commission says that no productions have floated the prospect of leaving S.C. over the law at this point.
“We have many women working on productions in Georgia, whose rights, along with millions of others, will be severely restricted by this law,” Ted Sarandos, chief content officer at Netflix said in a statement this week, according to Variety. “Should it ever come into effect, we’d rethink our entire investment in Georgia,” he said. The company will work with the ACLU to fight the law in court, Sarandos says.
Disney CEO Bob Iger told Reuters this week that it would be “very difficult” to continue filming in Georgia if the law went into effect. “I think many people who work for us will not want to work there, and we will have to heed their wishes in that regard,” Iger said.
Lionsgate and Amazon production shops have also reportedly cancelled plans to film in Georgia over the abortion ban.
The Netflix production OBX recently relocated from North to South Carolina over remaining provisions of the anti-LGBT “Bathroom Bill” still on the books in the Tar Heel State.
In addition to OBX, production of HBO’s Righteous Gemstones and DirecTV’s Mr. Mercedes are also currently underway in South Carolina, according to the Film Commission.
Georgia has become a hotbed of film production in recent years, with at least five Netflix productions underway, according to Deadline. AMC’s filming of The Walking Dead in Senoia, Ga. has even touched off a boutique tourism industry based around the zombie drama.
Regardless of whether production companies choose to take their money to less intolerant states, some industry heavy-hitters may choose to take a stand on their own.
Alyssa Milano, who appears in Netflix’s Insatiable, which films in Georgia, has gathered over 100 actors and actresses who say they would not work on productions in the state if the ban became law and would urge other productions to relocate. Jason Bateman, who appears on Georgia-filmed Ozark and The Outsider, has also pledged a boycott. Additionally, J.J. Abrams and Jordan Peele, still plan to film Lovecraft Country for HBO in the Peach State, but say they’ll donate profits to groups who are fighting the law.
“We are the party of freedom and opportunity. We value and protect innocent life — even though that makes C-list celebrities squawk,” Georgia’s Republican Gov. Jack Kemp said on May 18, days after signing the bill.
The film industry reportedly generated a $9.8 billion economic impact in Georgia last year.