Abortion ban: Netflix to 'rethink' investment in Georgia, becomes first major studio to counter restrictive legislation

Abortion ban: Netflix to 'rethink' investment in Georgia, becomes first major studio to counter restrictive legislation

In the wake of Georgia signing into law a fetal heartbeat bill, Netflix has announced that it will no longer use the state as a filming location if the legislation is upheld by the courts.

According to CNBC, Netflix's chief content officer Ted Sarandos said that the streaming giant would continue to film in Georgia at the moment but added that they would "rethink our entire investment" in the state should the bill go into effect.

"We have many women working on productions in Georgia, whose rights, along with millions of others, will be severely restricted by this law," he said. "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," he added.

Netflix currently has five projects filming in Georgia — 'The Liberator,' 'Christmas on the Square,' 'Holidate,' Season 2 of 'Insatiable,' and Season 3 of 'Ozark.' In the past, 'Stranger Things,' 'Queer Eye,' and 'The Haunting of Hill House' have all had scenes in the state as well, and if they go through if their threat, it would likely mean that the state would lose billions in revenue.

That figure is not inflated by any means either. Georgia Governor's office reported that because of its law that awards a 30 percent tax credit for productions shot in the state, they attracted more than 450 films and television projects last fiscal year, including blockbusters such as Disney's 'Black Panther,' 'Avengers: Infinity War,' and AMC's 'The Walking Dead.'

Scenes in 'Stranger Things' have been shot in Georgia (Source: IMDb)

These projects drove $4.5 billion in wages and had an economic impact of more than $9.5 billion, and state officials also revealed that film and TV production had generated $2.7 billion in direct spending for the fiscal year ending June 30.

The Daily Mail reported that bills to restrict abortion rights had been introduced in 16 states in 2019, with four of those — Alabama, Georgia, Missouri, and Ohio — signing it into law after it was passed by the legislatures.

There has been widespread backlash across the country as the push to have the Supreme Court review its 1973 ruling on Roe v. Wade has seen renewed efforts, with several filmmakers and actors voicing their dissent as well.

David Simon, who helped create 'The Wire,' and Alyssa Milano, who has become an outspoken advocate for women's rights, are amongst the several who have called for a moratorium on producing films in Georgia. 

In March, Milano wrote an open letter signed by 50 actors — including Amy Schumer, Alec Baldwin, Don Cheadle, Sarah Silverman, and Sean Penn — who pledged they would avoid filming in Georgia at all costs.

Jordan Peele and J.J. Abrams have also joined the fight and committed to donate all of their episodic fees for upcoming show 'Lovecraft County' to Fair Fight Georgia and the ACLU of Georgia, announcing they will stand "shoulder to shoulder with the women of Georgia."

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