Streaming giant Netflix has become the first major studio to speak out about the anti-abortion laws that have recently been proposed in states like Georgia, Alabama and Missouri.
A number of actors, such as Jason Bateman, have already taken action against the so-called ‘heartbeat bill’, saying they will not work in Georgia if the bill is passed into law.
Georgia is a large epicentre for production of TV and film in the US. Netflix, for example, shot their hit show Stranger Things there, while many Marvel films, including Avengers: Endgame, were filmed in the state too.
The ‘heartbeat bill’ would effectively ban all abortions in the state, even in the case of rape and incest. It would also outlaw the procedure, meaning doctors who perform abortions could face 10 years in prison.
In a statement to Variety, Netflix’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos said:
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.
Other companies and groups have already started boycotting Georgia and removing investment from the state.
Kirsten Schaffer, executive director of the nonprofit group Women in Film, said:
We support people who make the choice not to take their production to Georgia or take a job in Georgia because of the draconian anti-choice law.
To that end, we’ve compiled a list of pro-choice states that offer meaningful tax rebates and production incentives, and encourage everyone to explore these alternatives: California, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Washington.
Whlie Lori McCreary, former president of the Producers Guild of America and CEO of Revelations Entertainment, said:
It’s hard to wake up every day feeling like I’m growing up in my mother’s generation.
I don’t have anything that’s shooting in those locations, but I would give it a second thought in those states because I think it’s important for us to support [the protest].
Since the ‘heartbeat bill’ was signed, a number of productions abandoned their plans to film in the state, including the director of The Handmaid’s Tale Reed Morano, and the Bridesmaids writing team Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo. While a number of producers, who have so far kept working in Georgia, are donating their salaries to local activist groups and the American Civil Liberties Union.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.