Filmmakers are now vowing to boycott the state of Georgia after the governor signed a controversial abortion bill earlier this week. The boycott is a big deal because, according to the state’s website, more top-grossing films are produced in Georgia than anywhere else in the world.
So far, at least three major production companies have said they will no longer be filming in Georgia. One of those is Christine Vachon’s Killer Films, which produced the Oscar-nominated movie “Carol” and Oscar-winning film “Still Alice.”
“Killer Films will no longer consider Georgia as a viable shooting location until this ridiculous law is overturned,” Vachon tweeted Thursday.
David Simon, whose Blown Deadline Productions is responsible for “The Wire” and HBO’s “The Deuce,” also announced on Twitter that he will no longer consider shooting in Georgia “until we can be assured the health options and civil liberties of our female colleagues are unimpaired.”
"Add my company to the list," Neal Dodson of CounterNarrative Films tweeted soon after Vachon and Simon announced their own boycotts. Many in the film and TV industry praised the production companies, and urged others to follow suit.
The legislation in question is House Bill 481, otherwise known as the “fetal heartbeat bill,” which was signed into law by Governor Kemp on Tuesday. The bill bans all abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected--usually at around 6 weeks. There are exceptions for cases of rape, incest, physical medical emergencies, and pregnancies deemed “medically futile.” The law is slated to go into effect in January 2020.
Georgia is not the first state to pass such restrictive abortion legislation. Already this year, heartbeat bills have been passed and signed by Republican governors in Kentucky, Mississippi, and Ohio. Three months ago, a state judge struck down a similar law in Iowa, claiming it violated the Iowa state constitution.
After legislators in Georgia first passed House Bill 481, the ACLU announced it will be suing the state government.
But Governor Kemp did not seem overly concerned about potential challenges to the bill. At the signing, Kemp acknowledged that the pro-life legislation would likely be "challenged in the court of law," but pledged that Georgia will "always continue to fight for life."
"It's a historic day for Georgia, for Georgia families, and for those precious unborn babies," state Rep. Ginny Ehrhart, one of HB 481’s cosponsors, told Fox & Friends Tuesday morning.
Dozens of pro-abortion Hollywood celebrities, however, have spoken out against the bill.
“When you ban abortion, women die,” actress Alyssa Milano claimed during a protest at the state capital last month. “We cannot continue to allow these white men, middle-aged men, to dictate what we’re able to do with our bodies.”
Georgia is attractive to filmmakers because as of 2008, productions shot there receive a 30 percent tax credit. But Governor Kemp is not deterred by the boycotts.
"I can't govern because I'm worried about what someone in Hollywood thinks about me," Kemp said, according to a report by CBN News. "I ran the last two years on these issues, and I got elected with the largest number of votes in the history of the state of Georgia, and I'm doing what I told people I would do."
“Our business environment's good,” he added. “We cannot change our values of who we are for money. And we're not going to do that. That's what makes our state great."