Disney CEO Bob Iger said on Wednesday that if Georgia carries out the state's strict new abortion laws, telling Reuters that it would be "very difficult" for the company to continue filming in the state because "many people who work for us will not want to work there, and we will have to heed their wishes in that regard."
On May 7th, Georgia governor Brian Kemp (R) signed into law banning abortion after a doctor can detect a fetal heartbeat, which occurs at approximately six weeks into pregnancy. If it survives court challenges, it will take effect on January 1st.
If that happens, "I don’t see how it’s practical for us to continue to shoot there," said Iger. Of note, Disney filmed "Black Panther" and "Captain America: Civil War" in Georgia.
Georgia is one of eight states to pass anti-abortion legislation this year for the purpose of inducing the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark case that established a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy.
The state offers a tax credit that has lured many film and TV productions. The industry is responsible for more than 92,000 jobs in Georgia, according to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), and some 455 productions were shot in Georgia in 2018, according to the state. -Reuters
In 2016, Disney and other major studies threatened to boycott the state if they were to strengthen protections for same-sex marriage opponents - a bill which passed through the state legislature, only to be vetoed by then Republican governor, Nathan Deal.
Dozens of celebrities and producers have already committed to no longer working in Georgia over the abortion law, while others such as JJ Abrams' and Jordan Peele's production companies have said that they would remain in the state, but donate "100% of our respective episodic fees" from the current season of "Lovecraft Country" to the ACLU of Georgia.
On Tuesday, Netflix said that they would have to "rethink our entire investment in Georgia" if the new law is enacted - however they will continue production there for now while working with groups opposing the legislation. The company films shows such as "Stranger Things" and "Ozark" in Georgia - the latter of which star Jason Batemen told The Hollywood Reporter he would no longer work in the state if the legislation survives court challenges.
"We have many women working on productions in Georgia, whose rights, along with millions of others, will be severely restricted by this law," said Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos. "It’s why we will work with the A.C.L.U. 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."