Several films and TV production companies have announced that they will remove their business from the state of Georgia. This comes shortly after Gov. Brian Kemp signed a bill that will criminalize abortions that occur after just six weeks. Since most women don’t even know they’re pregnant at that point, critics of the bill say this is effectively a ban on all abortions and an assault on women’s reproductive rights.
Leading the way for the boycott are several independent but influential companies and people like David Simon (The Wire), Alyssa Milano (Insatiable), Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty), Mark Duplass (Creep), and John Leguizamo (Ice Age). But the issue isn’t cut and dry even among progressives. Powerhouse producers J.J. Abrams and Jordan Peele–whose show Lovecraft Country is set to start filming in the coming weeks in the Goober State–released a statement pronouncing the law “unconstitutional” and “draconian”. They continued on to announce that they would be donating 100 percent of their proceeds from this season of the show to civil rights organizations ACLU of Georgia and Fair Fight Georgia.
Civil rights boycotts have been effective in the past. In 2015 then-Governor Mike Pence attempted to pass legislation that would allow businesses in Indiana to discriminate against the LGBTQ community. The leaders of GenCon–which brings in about $50 million annually to the city of Indianapolis–along with several other conventions threatened to boycott the state. That law did not end up being passed. The Georgia law is not set to go into effect until 2020 and will undoubtedly be challenged in court.
But many critics of the boycott have pointed out that a boycott of Georgia by the film and TV industries will ultimately harm the most vulnerable people. This includes low-level workers and the LGBTQ community and people of color employed at higher-than-average levels by the industry.
Georgia has one of–if not THE, depending on how you measure it–largest film/TV economies in the U.S. This is likely due to its temperate climate, diverse geography, and incredibly generous tax incentives for production companies. It is the filming location for several MCU films such as Black Panther and both final Avengers movies as well as the perennial blockbuster TV show The Walking Dead. It is also home to several major production companies including Turner, Tyler Perry Studios, and Williams Street.
Do you think a boycott of the state of Georgia will be effective? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
Billy is a freelance writer living in Indianapolis with his dog, BoJack. He enjoys TED talks, video games, sunny days, football, and the salty tears of his enemies.