Hollywood Stars Threaten Georgia Filming Boycott Over Anti-Gay Bill
Hollywood stars and studios are threatening to boycott filming in Georgia if Governor Nathan Deal passes a proposed law that would allow faith-based organizations to discriminate against gay people. Companies including Disney, Time Warner, and Viacom, as well as such celebrities as Anne Hathaway, Julianne Moore and Seth MacFarlane, are just a few of the industry players trying to stop the Religious Liberty bill from becoming a law.
Last week, Georgia legislators passed the bill that would make it legal for religious officials to refuse to perform gay marriage ceremonies. It would also protect faith-based organizations from hiring or keeping an employee based on their sexuality.
Due to its tax incentives, Georgia has become one of the biggest film and television production hubs in the country, so much so that it has been referred to as “the Hollywood of the South.” At least 248 movie and TV projects were shot in the state during the last year, adding nearly $2 billion to its economy. But that could soon change should Governor Deal pass the Religious Liberty bill into law.
Many powerful voices in Hollywood have signed a letter of opposition from the Human Rights Campaign to Governor Deal. “As leaders in the entertainment industry, we have deep concerns about [the bill] which would sanction discrimination against LGBT people and others in Georgia,” the statement begins. “We pride ourselves on running inclusive companies, and while we have enjoyed a positive partnership on productions in Georgia, we will plan to take our business elsewhere if any legislation sanctioning discrimination is signed into state law.”
The letter further urges the Governor to veto the bill, “and send a strong message that Georgia will not tolerate discrimination against citizens, employees and visitors to the state.” In addition to the previously mentioned stars, additional players to put their name on the letter include Matt Bomer, Lee Daniels, Zoe Kravitz, Ryan Murphy, Rob Reiner, Aaron Sorkin, Marisa Tomei, Gus Van Sant, Harvey Weinstein and many more.