Peter Chernin Plans to Raise $15 Million to Challenge Anti-Abortion Laws

Several states have passed strict legislation in recent weeks

Peter Chernin viacom
Getty Images

Hollywood producer and businessman Peter Chernin has launched a campaign to raise $15 million to challenge sweeping anti-abortion legislation recently passed in several states.

Chernin sent an email to some of Hollywood’s top studio executives last week asking that they donate to the cause by July 1.

“As a friend and colleague in the film and TV industry, I write to you with a sense of urgency about the recent attempts to eliminate the right to abortion in Georgia and many other states across the country,” Chernin wrote in the email, confirmed by TheWrap. “I am launching a campaign to contribute to the $15 million that is needed to fund the ACLU’s legal efforts to battle the national anti-abortion movement with a deadline of July 1.”

Previously, Chernin and Jenno Topping of the Fox film trilogy “Fear Street” and the TV series “P-Valley” said the productions would continue to shoot in the state, but that the producers would be making a “significant donation” to ACLU.

“[If] we chose the boycott route, thousands of jobs would be lost, ultimately damaging workers who rely on production for livelihood, including many women,” Chernin said. “We also know that the only way to fight the massive, now national incursion on women’s rights is through a legal battle, a battle that needs funding on the ground and support via organizations like the ACLU who are powering up to overturn the law. So our choice became pretty clear. We will stay in Georgia, stand shoulder to shoulder with the women of that state and the states under attack, and fight to win.”

Earlier this month, Gov. Brian Kemp signed a law to outlaw abortion in Georgia after the detection of a fetal heartbeat, roughly six weeks into pregnancy. The law is expected to take effect on Jan. 1, 2020, though legal challenges are expected that could postpone or overturn the legislation.

Major media companies across Hollywood have pushed back against the anti-abortion “heartbeat bill” passed in Georgia and other states, saying they will monitor the situation and reconsider filming in the state in the future should the law go into effect.

The legislation threatens the recent growth of film and TV production in Georgia, which made $2.7 billion from Hollywood productions shooting in the state, according to the governors office.

Disney, AMC, Netflix, WarnerMedia, NBCUniversal, Viacom, CBS and Showtime, Sony, MGM and STX Entertainment all announced this week they would reconsider future production if the law went into effect. Several companies also said they would consider boycotting other states where similar legislation has been adopted.

The New York Times first reported the news.

Beatrice Verhoeven contributed to this report.