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Netflix and Disney speak out against Georgia’s new abortion law

Published May 30th, 2019 6:50AM EDT
Abortion Law Georgia
Image: Olly Curtis / Future Publishing/Shutterstock

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Georgia is one of the latest states to pass legislation that will make it harder for women to get abortions, but Georgia also happens to be one of the countries where several movie studios shoot some of their pictures, including Netflix and Disney. Both studios spoke out against Georgia’s “heartbeat bill” saying that they’ll have to reconsider working in the state if the legislation is implemented.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed a bill into law on May 7th that bans abortions after the detection of a fetal heartbeat. Essentially, the new law bans all abortions after six weeks, but it is only set to go into effect in 2020.

Many studios have been quiet on the matter so far, Variety reports, just as prominent names in the entertainment business, including actors, producers, and directors, already protested the law. Some went ahead to abandon plans to shoot in the state.

Netflix and Disney, however, voiced their concerns with the bill and said they’re considering pulling their productions from the state should the law come into effect.

“We have many women working on productions in Georgia, whose rights, along with millions of others, will be severely restricted by this law,” Netflix’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos told Variety earlier this week. “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.” CBS referred Variety to comments made by its entertainment president Kelly Kahl, who said at the network’s recent upfront presentation that he would monitor the bill’s progress toward becoming law.”

Disney’s CEO Bob Iger gave a similar response to Reuters. He said it would be “very difficult” to keep filming in Georgia if the law is implemented. Disney has shot a few high-profile films in the state recently, including Black Panther as well as Avengers: Endgame.

“I rather doubt we will [keep filming],” Iger said. “I think many people who work for us will not want to work there, and we will have to heed their wishes in that regard. Right now we are watching it very carefully.”

“I don’t see how it’s practical for us to continue to shoot there,” he added, if the law takes effect.

Reuters says that the industry is responsible for more than 92,000 jobs in the state and that some 455 productions were shot in Georgia last year alone.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.