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Netflix Warns They'll Stop Productions In Georgia If Abortion Law Moves Forward

Amy Pilkington 29 May 2019

Are you sick of hearing about abortion bans yet? Yeah, me too, but that's why we need to keep talking about them.

Proponents of these bills hope that if they wait out the outrage, we'll get bored or disillusioned or some new scandal will pull our attention away. Don't let them win.

Of course, most of us can only add our voices to the waves of protest; we can't hit those states where it hurts.

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But Hollywood can.

Some may complain that celebrities shouldn't involve themselves in politics, but I say that if you have the platform, use it for good.

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But Hollywood studios can do a surprising amount of damage by pulling productions from places that don't match their values.

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Television and movie productions can bring a ton of money and jobs into a community. Casting local extras, hiring local tradespeople to build sets, renting locations and hotel rooms for cast and crew, and even future tourism prospects, all of these add up in the local economy.

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Georgia is the focus of a lot of the Hollywood backlash, because a ton of productions are made there.

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The state provides a massive tax break to studios who opt to bring their projects into the state, and this also means that Georgia's economy would take a huge hit if too many of those opt to go elsewhere.

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So far, no studio has announced plans to pull productions from the state, despite a growing call for a boycott.

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However, a number of high-profile filmmakers, such as J.J. Abrams, Jordan Peele, and Ron Howard, with projects based in Georgia have taken their own steps. They are donating their personal salaries and fees from those productions to local activist groups and the ACLU.

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Actors in productions based there have also expressed plans to boycott.

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Alyssa Milano has been vocal about wanting people to avoid the state, where she is currently filming season two of Netflix's Insatiable. She is contractually obligated to complete filming, but won't be returning afterward.

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To get a sense of where studios stand, Variety reached out to all the major Hollywood studios for comment.

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Out of the group, which included bigwigs from The Walt Disney Co. to NBCUniversal, only one studio responded to their inquiry: Netflix.

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Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer, explained that they are watching the law as it's fought in court.

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"We have many women working on productions in Georgia, whose rights, along with millions of others, will be severely restricted by this law. It’s why we will work with the ACLU and others to fight it in court. Given the legislation has not yet been implemented, we’ll continue to film there, while also supporting partners and artists who choose not to. Should it ever come into effect, we’d rethink our entire investment in Georgia."

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Meanwhile, other creators are forcing the studios' hands by refusing to work in the state.

Some productions have had to move anyway, regardless of the studio's overall opinion of Georgia and its law.

Ultimately, until we know if the law will be stopped by the court system, the studios can stay quiet and deal with individual cases as they crop up instead of worrying about who will blink first.

h/t: Variety

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