Netflix is the latest studio to publicly state its position on whether it plans to continue filming in Georgia, following the recent passage of the state’s anti-choice, anti-women abortion legislation. “We have many women working on productions in Georgia, whose rights, along with millions of others, will be severely restricted by this law,” Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said in a statement yesterday. He expressed the company’s intention to push back against restrictive, heartbeat abortion legislation through collaborating with the ACLU. Meanwhile, Netflix, will continue to film there until further notice. “Should [the heartbeat bill] ever come into effect, we’d rethink our entire investment in Georgia.”
Governor Brian Kemp originally signed the bill into law at the end of March, prompting outcries from all corners of the country. Notably, activists who work in the television and film industry are hoping to use their platforms and influence to bring about change within the state; only a day or two before Kemp passed the bill, a who’s who of prominent actors and directors added their names to an open letter threatening a boycott of the state — to no avail.
Former candidate for Governor Stacey Abrams, a supporter of abortion rights, was one of many to advise against a boycott of the state for this reason. She instead tried to redirect public anger toward something she felt would be more productive. “I respect the call for a boycott on Georgia, but I do not believe it is the most effective, strategic choice for change,” she wrote on social media. Abrams reasoned that the legislators who crafted the heartbeat bill couldn’t care less about Hollywood activists. “In fact, they want the ability to demonize the film industry while profiting from its presence.”
Abrams’s political analysis has been spot on, so far. Georgia Governor’s Floor Leader Representative Dominic LaRiccia shared his thoughts with Variety this week: “You’re not from Georgia. You don’t live in Georgia. You’re not a voter in Georgia. You come here to fulfill a contract to make money and then go home.” It’s a sentiment that LaRiccia has shared with other conservative, anti-choice leaders in the state who won’t be persuaded to feel beholden to Hollywood, even if a boycott means lost jobs and revenue — approximately $4.5 billion in wages, according to figures cited by CNBC.
Janet Porter, the anti-choice activist who initially created the heartbeat bills that are making their way across the country, even told Variety that Hollywood, not Georgia, should be worried about unemployment. “So many states want to keep hearts beating that those who want to boycott them will soon run out of places in which to work,” said Porter, a delusional suggestion that underscores the commitment that many pro-life activists have to overturning Roe v. Wade.