Georgia Film Event in Los Angeles Postponed as Backlash Over Anti-Abortion Bill Continues

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp delayed May 22 event to promote state’s film industry

Last Updated: May 14, 2019 @ 4:40 PM

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has postponed a Los Angeles-based event to promote the Georgia film industry after intense backlash over the state’s recently-passed anti-abortion bill, Kemp’s spokesperson Cody Hall told TheWrap.

Originally scheduled for May 22 at the West Hollywood Sunset Tower Hotel, “Georgia Night in L.A.” has now been rescheduled for the fall. “In the meantime, the Governor will be touring production studios in GA to meet with employees and reaffirm his commitment to the film industry in our state,” Hall said.

The Georgia Film Office and the West Hollywood Sunset Tower Hotel did not immediately respond for a request for comment.

Last week, Kemp signed into law House Bill 481, which bans abortions in the state after a fetal heartbeat has been detected, which could be as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, except when needed to save the life of the mother or for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest if the mother files a police report. The law would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2020 unless it is blocked in the courts. Legal challenges are expected.

Passage of the bill sparked a huge backlash in Hollywood. “The Wire” creator David Simon, Killer Films CEO Christine Vachon, Mark Duplass of Duplass Brothers Productions and Neal Dodson of CounterNarrative Films all said they would boycott the state. Meanwhile, J.J. Abrams and Jordan Peele  said that while their show “Lovecraft Country” will still film in Georgia, they will donate their fees for producing the season to two Georgia-based organizations opposed to the law.

Over a decade ago, Georgia passed a tax credit in which productions can collect up to 30% of its budget if filmed in the state, according to the Washington Post.

Shows like “Ozark,” “The Real World” and “The Walking Dead” all film in the state, according to ExploreGeorgia.org, the state’s official tourism website. Among other projects to film there include the sequel to “Jumanji,” Steven Spielberg’s “Amazing Stories” and Will Smith’s “Bad Boys for Life.” “Avengers: Infinity War” was also shot there.

“Film and television production in Georgia supports more than 92,000 jobs and brings significant economic benefits to communities and families,” Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) spokesman Chris Ortman said in a statement in response to calls for boycotts. “It is important to remember that similar legislation has been attempted in other states, and has either been enjoined by the courts or is currently being challenged. The outcome in Georgia will also be determined through the legal process. We will continue to monitor developments.”

Beatrice Verhoeven contributed to this report. 

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