‘We cannot change our values of who we are for money. And we’re not going to do that. That’s what makes our state great…’
(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) Holding true to their promise of a boycott, several film production companies have announced they will no longer film in Georgia after Gov. Brian Kemp signed a fetal heartbeat bill into law.
The new law is currently one of the strongest in the country, preventing abortions once a heartbeat is detected, which is usually around six weeks into pregnancy.
The Georgia boycott effort has been promoted by several washed-up celebrities-turned-Twitter-activists, including Alyssa Milano and George Takei.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, four independent production companies—Blown Deadline Productions, Duplass Brothers Production, Killer Films and CounterNarrative—are known have joined so far.
David Simon, the creator of HBO’s “The Wire” and now head of Blown Deadline Productions, took to the social media platform Wednesday to announce his participation.
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
Duplass Brothers’s Mark Duplass, whose company has a multi-film deal with Netflix also tweeted out an appeal asking other producers to join the boycott.
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
And Killer Films CEO Christine Vachon, whose LGBT-oriented production company has produced films like the Oscar-winning “Boys Don’t Cry,” also wrote off consideration of the Peach State for her future projects.
Killer Films will no longer consider Georgia as a viable shooting location until this ridiculous law is overturned.
— Christine Vachon (@kvpi) May 9, 2019
However, the virtue-signaling indie companies did not seem to be a bellwether for a mass exodus from the state’s burgeoning film industry, where tax-incentives and proximity to both rural and urban landscapes have enticed eastward-looking Hollywood refugees.
Two of Marvel’s most recent releases, Black Panther and Avengers: End Game—both of which shattered major box-office records—were filmed at Pinewood Studios in Atlanta.
The unique character of the state’s smaller communities also have had a starring role in series like HBO’s “Sharper Objects,” AMC’s “The Walking Dead” and Netflix’s “Ozark” and “Stranger Things.”
The Motion Picture Association of America, which represents the five major film studios, said it was not planning to take action in response to the bill, but it noted that it is watching the law closely and will wait for final court outcomes.
“Film and television production in Georgia supports more than 92,000 jobs and brings significant economic benefits to communities and families,” said Chris Ortman, MPAA’s senior vice president of communications.
“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,” Ortman said. “The outcome in Georgia will also be determined through the legal process. We will continue to monitor developments.”
The entertainment industry in Georgia employs more than 200,000 Georgians and generated more than $60 billion for the state last year, according to the state’s governor, Brian Kemp.
Regardless, Kemp said he won’t be bullied by Hollywood elites.
“I can’t govern because I’m worried about what someone in Hollywood thinks about me,” he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I ran the last two years on these issues, and I got elected with the largest number of votes in the history of the state of Georgia, and I’m doing what I told people I would do.”
Several other states, including North and South Carolina, have undertaken similar legislation on heartbeat bills. A measure passed by the Ohio legislature last session was vetoed by lame-duck Gov. John Kasich.
Blue states including New York, meanwhile, have undertaken radically different legislation that would permit abortions into the third term of pregnancy, when an infant is typically fully developed.
Both red- and blue-state legislatures seem to be anticipating the likelihood that a Supreme Court ruling will ultimately overturn the federal Roe v. Wade law and designate abortion as something to be determined by individual states.
Kemp said what made Georgia an appealing environment for the industry to begin with was that it reflected a different culture and environment than Hollywood.
Kowtowing to the whims of limousine liberals would only destroy that unique charm, he said.
“We cannot change our values of who we are for money. And we’re not going to do that. That’s what makes our state great.”
Liberty Headlines’ Ben Sellers contributed to this report.