Disney CEO: ‘Difficult’ to Work in Georgia Due to Heartbeat Legislation
Production companies have said they could consider moving production out of the state because of the new law.
ATLANTA — Following the passage of the Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act in Georgia earlier this month, major film and television companies have said they may consider relocation if the law comes into force.
Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed the measure into law on May 8, despite the open protests of actors and actresses who threatened to organize a boycott of the state.
Production companies WarnerMedia, Disney and Netflix have said they could consider moving production out of the state because of the heartbeat law.
Disney CEO Bob Iger has said the law would make it “difficult” for the company to continue to do business in Georgia.
“Many people who work for us will not want to work there,” should the law go into effect, Iger told Reuters. “We will have to heed their wishes.”
Warner and Netflix both said May 29 that they would “reconsider” their presence in the state if the law comes into force.
The LIFE Act bans abortion after the detection of a fetal heartbeat, usually between six to eight weeks of pregnancy. The law is due to take effect Jan. 1, 2020, but pro-abortion groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, have vowed to mount challenges in the courts.
Kemp responded at the bill’s signing by saying that “our job is to do what is right, not what is easy,” calling the law “a declaration that all life has value, that all life matters, that all life is worthy of protection.”
“We stand up and speak for those unable to speak for themselves. The LIFE Act is very simple, but also very powerful,” Kemp said.
Pressure from the entertainment industry has been led by actress Alyssa Milano. Milano wrote an open letter to Kemp, together with 50 other entertainers, threatening to pull business from the state if he signed the law.
Owing to generous state tax incentives, more film and television production is currently carried out in Georgia than in California.
Milano is currently in Atlanta filming a television series, but she has clarified she may not return for subsequent series.
So far, only three companies — Blown Deadline, Killer Films, and Duplass Brothers Production — have said that they will not film in Georgia until the heartbeat law is overturned. None have previously worked in the state.
The entertainment industry previously threatened to boycott Georgia should Kemp be elected governor. That boycott did not materialize.