Netflix Exec: ‘We’d Rethink Our Entire Investment in Georgia’ if Heartbeat Bill Stands
Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos vowed to “rethink” the company's investments in Georgia if the state's recently passed ban on abortions past the point where a fetal heartbeat can be detected is not ultimately struck down by the courts.“We have many women working on productions in Georgia, whose rights, along with millions of others', will be severely restricted by this law,” Sarandos said in a statement provided to CNBC Tuesday. “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.”Georgia governor Brian Kemp signed what was then the nation's most restrictive abortion law earlier this month, effectively banning all abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which usually occurs around six weeks into pregnancy.In response, a number of prominent actors, writers, and Hollywood production companies have said they will no longer film in the state in order to protect their female colleagues from what they believe to be a violation of their reproductive rights.Actress Kristen Wiig announced last week that she'd canceled plans to film her upcoming comedy Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar in Georgia in response to the law. David Simon, who created The Wire and runs Blown Deadline Productions, and Mark Duplass of Duplass Brothers Productions, have both announced they will no longer film in Georgia.> And now Alabama. And many other state legislatures with similar bills in the works. This is bigger than just one state. If you are a man who believes that what a woman chooses to do with her body is her choice, please stand up and do something. It's time.> > -- Mark Duplass (@MarkDuplass) May 15, 2019> Can only speak for my production company. Our comparative assessments of locations for upcoming development will pull Georgia off the list until we can be assured the health options and civil liberties of our female colleagues are unimpaired. https://t.co/WTb0tj95zH> > -- David Simon (@AoDespair) May 9, 2019If sustained, the film boycott could have a substantial effect on Georgia's economy, which benefited from $9.5 billion in activity related to film and television production last fiscal year, according to the governor's office. The state has long courted the entertainment industry; in 2008 the legislature passed a 30 percent tax credit for productions shot in the state.As Sarandos mentioned, the ACLU is currently preparing to challenge the heartbeat law in court and it may be joined in the suit by Planned Parenthood Southeast.“We cannot necessarily go to the court right away, because we need to take the time to assess these collateral impacts,” ACLU of Georgia legal director Sean Young told a local NPR affiliate. “We also think that a court would appreciate lawyers taking the time to do that homework before rushing into court.”“[Supporters of the law] have a view of the Constitution, and the courts are there to test their views. We think the precedent is on our side that this law deprives women of their autonomy and freedom to make their own health-care decisions and we intend to argue that vigorously in court,” he added.
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