Four companies so far have pledged to boycott the state of Georgia for new film and TV productions until the new legislation that bans abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy is reversed.
“The Wire” creator David Simon and his Blown Deadline Productions, Killer Films CEO Christine Vachon (“Carol,” “Vox Lux”), Mark Duplass and his Duplass Brothers Productions and “Triple Frontier” producer Neal Dodson on behalf of his CounterNarrative Films alongside J.C. Chandor, have so far publicly condemned the law that’s being called the “heartbeat bill.”
None are known to have any projects slated to shoot in the state, which has in recent years built a billion-dollar film and TV production business thanks in part to lucrative tax credits.
J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions and Jordan Peele’s Monkeypaw Productions issued a joint statement Friday in which they said they would still film their show “Lovecraft Country” in Georgia but promised to donate their fees for producing the season to two Georgia-based organizations against the law.
“In a few weeks we start shooting our new show, ‘Lovecraft Country’ and will do so standing shoulder to shoulder with the women of Georgia,” Abrams and Peele said in a joint statement. “Governor Kemp’s ‘Fetal Heartbeat’ Abortion Law is an unconstitutional effort to further restrict women and their health providers from making private medical decisions on their terms. Make no mistake, this is an attack aimed squarely and purposely at women. We stand with Stacey Abrams and the hardworking people of Georgia, and will donate 100% of our respective episodic fees for this season to two organizations leading the charge against this draconian law: the ACLU of Georgia and Fair Fight Georgia. We encourage those who are able to funnel any and all resources to these organizations.”
The public rejection of Georgia comes days after Republican Gov. Brian Kemp on Tuesday signed into law legislation that would ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat has been detected, which could be as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. The legislation does include exceptions to save the life of the mother or for 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.
“Film and television production in Georgia supports more than 92,000 jobs and brings significant economic benefits to communities and families,” a spokesman for the Motion Picture Association of America said in a statement. “The outcome in Georgia will also be determined through the legal process. We will continue to monitor developments.”
A spokesperson for STX Entertainment, whose film “Greenland” starring Gerard Butler is currently slated for filming in the state, said via a spokesperson they are taking their cue from the MPAA and issued this statement: “We are taking the situation seriously and are assessing it along with others in our industry. We will keep a close eye on how this develops as we explore all of our options.”
But many in Hollywood are not content to sit by and monitor the situation — or wait for the courts to possibly intervene.
Actress Alyssa Milano, who is currently filming the Netflix series “Insatiable” in Georgia, renewed her call for a boycott on Thursday while noting that she is contractually obligated to film in the state for the next month. “If you are offered a project that shoots in Georgia or are a producer considering working in Georgia or any state with a heartbeat bill, you should not take that job and you should be vocal about why you’re not taking that job,” Milano said.
“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. “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.”
The Washington Post notes that Georgia passed a tax credit over a decade ago in which productions can collect up to 30% of its budget if filmed in the state, resulting in the studio either saving money or enabling an increase in the project’s budget.
According to ExploreGeorgia.org, the state’s official tourism website, shows like “Ozark,” “The Real World,” and “The Walking Dead” are all currently filming in Georgia.
The sequel to “Jumanji” just wrapped production there, as did Steven Spielberg’s “Amazing Stories” and Will Smith’s “Bad Boys for Life.” “Avengers: Infinity War” was also shot there. For a comprehensive list of all films shot in Georgia from 1972 to present, click here.
The Georgia Film Commission had no comment.
Can only speak for my production company. Our comparative assessments of locations for upcoming development will pull Georgia off the list until we can be assured the health options and civil liberties of our female colleagues are unimpaired. https://t.co/WTb0tj95zH
— David Simon (@AoDespair) May 9, 2019
You are addressing tactics and effect; it is irrelevant to argue either. As an ethical employer, I cannot subject female colleagues to a dimunition of their civil liberties and obstructions to health care by any jurisdiction. I'm honor-bound to film elsewhere. https://t.co/garOFw9Cmb
— David Simon (@AoDespair) May 10, 2019
Don’t give your business to Georgia. Will you pledge with me not to film anything in Georgia until they reverse this backwards legislation?
— Mark Duplass (@MarkDuplass) May 9, 2019
No Georgia filming on any of our projects until the unconstitutional & anti-woman law is gone.
— Neal Dodson (@nealdodson) May 9, 2019
Add my company CounterNarrative Films (w/ #jcchandor & @annagerb) to the list. No Georgia filming on any of our projects until this law is gone. We’re with you @kvpi @MarkDuplass & @AoDespair https://t.co/KL4hFogV1y
— Neal Dodson (@nealdodson) May 10, 2019
Killer Films will no longer consider Georgia as a viable shooting location until this ridiculous law is overturned.
— Christine Vachon (@kvpi) May 9, 2019