A long list of Hollywood stars sent a letter this week to Georgia House Speaker David Ralston (R) and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) threatening to boycott the state if it passed a bill that bans abortion after the detection of a fetal heartbeat, which can occur as early as six weeks into pregnancy.
Over 40 prominent stars signed the letter, including Alec Baldwin, Amy Schumer, Gabrielle Union, Rosie O’Donnell, Patton Oswalt, Sarah Silverman, Essence Atkins, Uzo Aduba, Christina Applegate, Ben Stiller, Sean Penn, Atlanta native David Cross, Don Cheadle, Mia Farrow, Colin Hanks, Bradley Whitford and Amber Tamblyn.
Liberal actress Alyssa Milano spearheaded the letter and tweeted about it on Thursday.
To @BrianKempGA & Speaker Ralston:— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) March 28, 2019
Attached, is an open letter signed by 50 actors against #HB481. On behalf of the undersigned--as people often called to work in GA or those of us contractually bound to work in GA--we hope you'll reconsider signing this bill. #HBIsBadForBusiness pic.twitter.com/DsOmAWYU2x
“We cannot in good conscience continue to recommend our industry remain in Georgia if H.B. 481 becomes law,” the letter said of the bill, which passed the Georgia Senate on Friday.
“This dangerous and deeply-flawed bill mimics many others which have already been deemed unconstitutional,” they argued. “As men who identify as small-government conservatives, we remind you that government is never bigger than when it is inside a woman’s body or in her doctor’s office.”
“We want to stay in Georgia,” they concluded. “We want to continue to support the wonderful people, businesses, and communities we have come to love in the Peachtree State. But we will not do so silently, and we will do everything in our power to move our industry to a safer state for women if H.B. 481 becomes law.”
The Writers Guild of America is also threatening a boycott over the legislation.
WGAE and @WGAWest oppose Georgia's abortion ban legislation #HB481. This draconian anti-choice law would discourage people in our industry from working in Georgia and could harm the state's vibrant film and television industry. Full statement attached. pic.twitter.com/bAfJkhXSTv— Writers Guild of America, East (@WGAEast) March 26, 2019
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution notes that “[t]he industry was lured by generous incentives that have doled out more than $2 billion in tax credits over the past decade, generating tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in direct economic activity. Georgia is now the third-biggest state for film and TV production.”
Abortion activism from celebrities is nothing new. Former Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards appeared on stage at last year’s Oscars and the abortion group is a favorite for Hollywood when it comes to fundraising and activism.
Jennifer Lawrence, Amy Poehler, Judd Apatow, and many other prominent celebrities starred in a video in 2017 calling on the public to ask their representatives not to defund the nation’s largest abortion provider.
Despite all the pushback on the legislation, Gov. Kemp has indicated he will sign the measure.
“I applaud the members who supported the heartbeat bill’s passage for protecting the vulnerable and giving a voice to those who cannot yet speak for themselves,” Kemp said. “I look forward to working with the House to ensure this legislation’s final passage in the coming days.”
State Rep. Trey Kelley (R), a floor leader for Kemp, commented that the film industry’s input will not factor into the House vote.
“I think it’s sad that some will try to use the movie industry to stop good legislation in Georgia,” he commented. “But with any proposal I do — and I know many members of (the Republican) caucus — weigh the merits of the legislation, they don’t pay attention to what special-interest groups have to say about it.”