Hollywood backlash over Georgia abortion law grows
Big business stays silent over controversy – in contrast to entertainment giantsAbortion rights advocates rally in front of the Georgia state capitol in Atlanta. Photograph: Tami Chappell/AFP/Getty ImagesGeorgia is home to some of the world’s biggest businesses but those corporations are so far avoiding becoming involved in the growing controversy over the state’s new abortion law, in contrast to the growing number of entertainment giants threatening to pull out. Earlier this week, Disney and Netflix said they are considering ending production in the state if it implements a bill that bans abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy – a point when many women will not know they are pregnant.The entertainment giants have sparked a Hollywood backlash against the law, with companies including WarnerMedia, which owns the Game of Thrones maker, HBO, and the Lord of the Rings to Harry Potter film studio, Warner Bros, also threatening to stop making productions in Georgia.WarnerMedia has said it would “reconsider” Georgia as a location for any new productions, putting it in a politically difficult position as all eight series of the global phenomenon Game of Thrones were filmed in Northern Ireland, which has even more restrictive laws on abortion and reproductive rights than Georgia.“We operate and produce work in many states and within several countries at any given time and while that doesn’t mean we agree with every position taken by a state or a country and their leaders, we do respect due process,” the company said in a statement.“We will watch the situation closely and if the new law holds we will reconsider Georgia as the home to any new productions. As is always the case, we will work closely with our production partners and talent to determine how and where to shoot any given project.”Sophie Turner, who played Sansa Stark in the series, told Sky News she had signed a public pledge to no longer work in US states with strict abortion laws. When it was pointed out she had filmed eight series of Game of Thrones in Northern Ireland, she said “luckily we’re moving on”. The state has built a reputation as being one of the most business-friendly in the south and its largest employers include Coca-Cola, Delta, Home Depot, UPS and a host of other blue-chip companies. However, so far none are prepared to follow the media and entertainment giants.“We think it’s a very personal issue to the individual, so we don’t see it as our place to weigh in on this,” a spokeswoman for Home Depot said.“The question of abortion is deeply personal and there are many strongly held beliefs. We believe each employee has the right to express their own views and for this reason the company does not make a policy statement for, or against, the bill,” a UPS spokesman said.“UPS aligns its policies with the law. We encourage our employees to be involved in the political process so that their interests and beliefs are reflected in the laws enacted by their elected representatives.”Delta and Coca-Cola did not respond to requests for comment. The Georgia Chamber of Commerce also declined to comment on the bill, which is being challenged and is likely to end up before the supreme court.While global corporates remain silent on the matter, the opposition from Hollywood has continued to swell.NBC Universal, owner of the Jurassic World and Fast and Furious maker Universal Studios, said that if the law were to come into effect it would “strongly impact our decision-making on where we produce out content in the future”.Viacom – which owns Channel 5 in the UK and Paramount, the Hollywood studio behind franchises including Mission: Impossible and Transformers – said that if the law were to be introduced “we will assess whether we will continue to produce projects” in the state.AMC Networks, which is currently shooting the 10th season of The Walking Dead in Georgia, said: “If this highly restrictive legislation goes in to effect, we will re-evaluate our activity in Georgia.” The muted business reaction in Georgia stands in marked contrast to the outpouring of corporate criticism that followed North Carolina’s so-called “bathroom bill”. That bill would have required transgender people to use restrooms in many public buildings that corresponded to their sex at birth.Companies including Apple, Coca-Cola and PayPal attacked the bill and threatened not to create new jobs in the state. Hugh McColl, retired chief executive of Bank of America, one of the state’s largest employers, called the bill “inappropriate, unnecessary legislation that will hurt North Carolina”.The legislation, which was partially repealed, cost the state $3.76bn in lost business, according to Associated Press.
from Yahoo News - Latest News & Headlines https://yhoo.it/2wtiQGs