Netflix Could Boycott Georgia Over Controversial Abortion Law

Netflix will consider pulling movie and television productions from Georgia if the state implements a controversial abortion ban, Variety reported Tuesday.

The move would make Netflix the first Hollywood studio to publicly take a stand on the polarising issue.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on May 7 signed a bill that would make abortion illegal after a fetal heartbeat is detected, prompting backlash from major actors and directors.

Among the Hollywood elite to ditch plans to film in Georgia after the abortion measure was adopted were "Handmaid's Tale" director Reed Morano, actress Kristen Wiig and "Bridesmaids" writer Annie Mumolo, according to Variety, while "Titanic" actor Frances Fisher picketed in front of Atlanta's City Hall.

Netflix said the company would continue ongoing productions in Georgia because the law is not yet in force. But "Should it ever come into effect, we'd rethink our entire investment in Georgia," chief content officer Ted Sarandos said in a statement to CBS News.

Although filmmakers are also protesting working in Alabama, Missouri and Ohio, where women's reproductive rights are at risk of being rolled back, the spotlight is on Georgia.

The state attracts movie shoots through a 20 percent base transferable tax credit. In 2018, the film industry supported a total of more than 92,000 local jobs in Georgia and $2.7 billion in direct spending, according to state officials.

Marvel's Black Panther alone, which was among the 455 movie and TV projects filmed in Georgia in 2018, accounted for more than 3,000 workers.

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Kirsten Schaffer, executive director of the nonprofit group Women in Film, said she supports filmmakers who chose not to work in the state for political reasons.

"A woman's right to make choices about her own body is fundamental to her personal and professional well-being. We support people who make the choice NOT to take their production to Georgia or to take a job in Georgia because of the draconian anti-choice law recently signed by their Governor," Schaffer said in a statement.

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The move would make Netflix the first Hollywood studio to publicly take a stand on the polarising issue.

She suggested that they move their productions to other states that offer significant tax rebates and production incentives, such as California, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, New Mexico New York, and Washington.

Some entertainment industry figures have cautioned against boycotting Georgia because of the economic toll it would take on ordinary workers and have instead backed other forms of protest.

Jordan Peele and J.J. Abrams are continuing projects in the state and are vowing to donate their salaries to the American Civil Liberties Union and abortion rights groups.