Disney CEO Bob Iger recently spoke to Reuters to reveal the position the entertainment monolith is taking following Georgia’s pro-life heartbeat bill being signed by Governor Brian Kemp.
When asked if Disney would keep producing in Georgia, Iger responded, “Well, I think if it becomes law it will be very difficult to produce there. I rather doubt we will.” He continued, “One. I think many people who work for us will not want to work there. We will have to heed their wishes in that regard.” He goes on to indicate Disney is watching the situation closely, “Right now, we are watching it very carefully. I guess there is some speculation that it could be enacted some time after the 1st of the year. I think it’s also likely to be challenged in the courts and that could delay it. And we are being careful and cautious about it.”
He then reiterates that Disney will not shoot films in Georgia if it becomes law, “If it becomes law I don’t see how it’s practical to continue to shoot there.”
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) May 30, 2019
Iger and Disney are not the only entertainment behemoths to make such a statement. Netflix’s Ted Sarandos made similar comments to Variety earlier this week:
“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.”
The Georgia bill has caused quite a stir among many Hollywood celebrities. Alyssa Milano lead the charge when the bill was still being debated in Georgia. She penned an open letter that described the bill as “evil.” That letter would be signed by a number of Disney actors including Avengers: Endgame actors Don Cheadle, Tessa Thompson, and Mark Ruffalo.
After the bill was signed by the Georgia Governor, Alyssa Milano called for a sex strike. Westworld actress Evan Rachel Wood called for mandatory vasectomies, and actress and model Emily Ratajkowski posed nude to protest the bill. Hellboy actress Milla Jovovich protested the law by describing her “horrific” abortion experience.
The Writers Guild of America also opposed the bill issuing a statement that read in part:
“This draconian anti-choice law would discourage people in our industry from working in Georgia and could harm the state’s vibrant film and television industry.”
The Handmaid’s Tale director Reed Morano announced her upcoming Amazon Studios project called The Power would not film in Georgia. She wrote on Instagram, It feels wrong for a reason. And it felt wrong to us to go ahead and make our show and take money/tax credit from a state that is taking this stance on the abortion issue. We just couldn’t do it.”
Wonder Woman 1984 actress Kristen Wiig announced that her and Annie Mumolo’s upcoming Lionsgate comedy, Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar, would not film in Georgia.
Disney’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker director J.J. Abrams and Get Out director Jordan Peele announced their HBO drama Lovecraft County would continue to film in Georgia, but they would be donating their producer fees to the ACLU and Fair Fight Georgia to aid their efforts in opposing the bill. The two released a statement that described the bill as “unconstitutional effort to further restrict women and their health providers from making private medical decisions on their terms. Make no mistake, this is an attack aimed squarely and purposely at women.”
Not all of Hollywood opposes the law. Former Superman actor Dean Cain described Alyssa Milano’s tactics as bullying. He would later go on to describe the idea of boycotting the state as an “absolute joke.” He told Fox and Friends, “Hollywood pretending to be the bastion of moral superiority is an absolute joke, because Hollywood is not by any stretch of the imagination.”
Actor Stephen Baldwin denounced his brother Alec Baldwin’s signature to Milano’s letter. He described his brothers actions as the “spirit of hate … through abortion.” He also stated, “Mockery & blindness.”
Hollywood does a ton of business in Georgia. Atlanta-based AJC reports in Fiscal Year 2018 there were 455 productions that did “$2.7 billion in direct spending.” They noted this was the most productions “since the tax credits were passed in 2008.”
Georgia provides film and TV productions with up to a 30 percent tax credit if they spend at least $500,000 in the state.
The Walking Dead, Avengers: Infinity War, Black Panther, Avengers: Endgame, Ozark, and more all have or had a production home in Georgia.
What do you make of Bob Iger’s statements? Do his comments make you reconsider whether or not you will support Disney productions in the future?