Two major film productions to 'boycott' Georgia over abortion bill
Georgia - Two major Hollywood productions have announced that they plan to avoid filming in Georgia because of the stringent anti-abortion bill the state's Republican legislature signed into law earlier this month.
The show "The Power," a drama series for Amazon Studios that is based on a female-centric science fiction novel of the same name, decided to pull scouts who were scouring the state for potential filming locations and said that it would not be filming any of the show in the state.
"The collective decision taken by Sister Pictures and Reed Morano to cancel the planned scout to Georgia for The Power is a direct response to the signing of the 'heartbeat bill,'" Jane Featherstone and Naomi De Pear, the show's executive producers, said in a statement. "We feel we have to stand up for a woman's right to choose what happens to her body, and so while this is not a decision we have taken lightly, we feel strongly that it is the right one at this point in time."
The decision was first reported by Time. Director Reed Morano told the outlet that two scouts had been working in the Savannah area to look for locations for several months; she had planned to visit the state this week. But those plans were scuttled after the bill was signed on May 7.
"We had no problem stopping the entire process instantly," Morano told Time. "There is no way we would ever bring our money to that state by shooting there."
A representative for Kristen Wiig told Time that her upcoming comedy, "Barb and Star Go To Vista Del Mar," would also not be filming in the state.
Georgia was the first of a crop of Republican-dominated states that have moved to pass restrictive anti-abortion legislation in a bid to get the issue before the Supreme Court. The state's bill bans abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected - as early as six weeks into pregnancy, or four weeks after a woman misses her first period.
It was followed by an even more strict law, a nearly all-out ban that was passed in Alabama, which prohibits abortion in all cases unless the health of a woman is at risk or the baby is likely to die soon after birth.
The laws have touched off calls to boycott the state and its products among many prominent women and Democrats, including officials in Colorado and Maryland who said that they would work to divest state spending from Alabama.
Some of the more vocal proponents of the ban have come from the world of Hollywood: actors Sean Penn, Alec Baldwin, Mia Farrow, Don Cheadle, Jason Bateman, and Ben Stiller have all signed a petition calling for it.
Alyssa Milano, who is filming on the Netflix show Insatiable in Georgia, said she would not return to the show for the next season if it was still located in Georgia.
But there has been plenty of debate about whether the boycotts are an effective form of protest.
Former Democratic candidate for state governor Stacey Abrams said she respected the boycott calls but did not believe them to be the "most effective, strategic choice for change."
Instead, she urged people to donate to organizations that would fight the bill.
Economic boycotts have found some success in recent years, particularly in North Carolina, where pressure from organizations such as the NCAA - which said it would not host its championship in the state unless a bill that banned transgender people from using a bathroom of their choice was withdrawn - seemed to have their intended effect. The state eventually repealed the law.
Georgia has become a desirable terrain for film producers, due in large part to the generous tax incentives it offered them in the wake of the 2008 recession. The show The Walking Dead was filmed almost entirely in the state.
The industry employed some 92 000 people and generated billions of dollars in economic impact in 2018, according to statistics cited by Time.The Washington Post