Disney boss says it will be 'difficult' to film in Georgia if abortion law enforced
30 May 2019, 14:12 | Updated: 30 May 2019, 15:57
The boss of Walt Disney says it would be "very difficult" for the media company to keep filming in Georgia if a new abortion law takes effect.
Walt Disney co-chief executive Bob Iger said on Wednesday he thinks many people who work for the company will not want to work in Georgia, “and we will have to heed their wishes in that regard”.
If the law takes effect, “I don’t see how it’s practical for us to continue to shoot there,” he added.
He also said the company was watching the situation “very carefully.”
Earlier this month, Georgia’s Republican governor Brian Kemp signed into law the state's "fetal heartbeat bill” that bans abortions six weeks into a pregnancy before many women even realise that they are pregnant.
Streaming giant Netflix said on Tuesday it would “rethink” its film and television production investment in Georgia if the new abortion law is implemented.
Netflix’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos said Netflix had many women working on productions in Georgia and their rights would be restricted by the new law.
“It’s why we will work with the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) and others to fight it in court," he said.
"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,” Sarandos told Variety in statement on Tuesday.
A number of high-profile actors have also joined the debate.
Makers of an upcoming comedy starring Kristen Wiig decided last week not to shoot in Georgia.
Actor Jason Bateman has also said that if the abortion bill becomes law he would not work in the state.
Actress Alyssa Milano shared an open letter to Mr Kemp, signed by 50 actors, asking him to reconsider signing the bill.
Comedian Amy Schumer, actor Alec Baldwin and activist Mia Farrow were listed among them.
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) says the film and television industry directly employs 25,700 people and pays more than $1.7bn in wages in Georgia.
Blockbusters including Black Panther and Avengers: Endgame have been shot in the state, because it offers generous tax credits.
Georgia had 455 qualified TV and film productions in 2018, according to the governor's office, which brought $2.7bn in direct spending to the state.
Thirty-two movies and TV shows are currently in production in the state, according to the list posted on the website of the Georgia Department of Economic Development.
Georgia is one of eight states to pass anti-abortion legislation this year.
On Wednesday, Louisiana’s governor said he would sign a bill passed earlier in the day to ban abortion when a fetal heartbeat is detected, the latest legislation in a movement in mostly southern and Midwest states to curb abortion rights.
Georgia's anti-abortion law is set to take effect on 1 January.