We’ve already heard from Hollywood celebrities, forty of whom in March signed a letter to Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp saying they would urge TV and film production companies to abandon the state if then “heartbeat” abortion bill passed. Now that the bill has been signed into law, the companies are following the celebs’ advice.
On Thursday, NPR noted that Walt Disney Co., Netflix, NBCUniversal, and WarnerMedia — which owns HBO, CNN and other channels — have all announced they will consider ceasing productions in Georgia should the law be permitted to take effect on Jan. 1, 2002, as currently planned.
Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos is quoted as having stated in an email received by NPR, “We have many women working on productions in Georgia, whose rights, along with millions of others, will be severely restricted by this law.”
Sarandos was not asked about and did not comment on Netflix’s plans to step up production in the Middle East, where abortion is illegal. Via the Daily Caller:
Netflix is working on its third Arabic original, titled “Paranormal,” Variety reports. … The show will be produced in Egypt, where abortion is punishable by imprisonment in almost all circumstances, according to the Pew Research Center.
If that seems a tad hypocritical, it’s because it is.
Disney, whose chief executive, Bob Iger, told Reuters it would be “very difficult” for the company to keep filming in Georgia because many people will not want to work in a state that heartless apparently didn’t canvass his employees for their reactions to doing business with China, which puts Muslims in internment camps.
Add to that the irony that a boycott by Disney and Netflix might actually be beneficial to Georgia’s bottom line. Forbes explains that the Peach State provides all manner of tax credits and incentives to producers of movies and television:
The state doled out $800 million in tax credits to movie and television productions in 2017. … Over the past decade, Georgia has doled out more than $4 billion in tax credits to Hollywood.
“The irony of the situation is that the filming ban … will probably actually save the Georgia government more money than the loss of the film revenue will cost them,” Victor Matheson, an economist at the College of the Holy Cross, writes in an email.