First, it was a bunch of “C-list celebrities” that vowed to never work in the state again. Then Netflix stepped up and threatened to pull its various productions. And now, due to the recently passed anti-choice “heartbeat bill” that is set to go into effect in January, Disney’s CEO Bob Iger thinks his studio will likely leave Georgia, as well.
In an interview with Reuters, the head of Disney was asked what his mega-studio plans on doing if the new law that makes abortions illegal once a heartbeat can be heard on an ultrasound (normally around six weeks) goes into effect in 2020. Would Disney continue to work in the state, after various actors, filmmakers, and production companies (like Netflix) have already threatened to walk away?
“I rather doubt we will,” Iger said. “I think many people who work for us will not want to work there, and we will have to heed their wishes in that regard. Right now we are watching it very carefully.”
He added, “I don’t see how it’s practical for us to continue to shoot there .”
After the recent news about Netflix, all eyes went to Disney, who is the largest studio in the world, and films many of its blockbusters (including “Star Wars” and Marvel Studios films) in the state of Georgia. And now, with Iger’s clear answer, it’s expected that many of the other studios and production companies will follow suit.
Georgia is one of a handful of states that have recently passed, or is in the process of passing, the new abortion restrictions, effectively eliminating women’s right to choose, for all intents and purposes. As has been pointed out by medical and reproductive rights experts, many women don’t discover they’re pregnant until deep into the first trimester (12 weeks in), which means that they would already disqualify for the option of having an abortion.
However, unlike the other states that are passing these “heartbeat bills,” Georgia also happens to be a state that relies on the film and TV industry for tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of revenue each year. It’s been reported that in 2018, the state housed over 450 film and TV productions.
As alluded to at the beginning of this article, Georgia lawmakers have been defiant with these threats from Hollywood, with the Governor recently downplaying the importance of the film and TV industry to the state’s economy. That being said, losing that much money is definitely going to affect an economy, and perhaps sway the hearts and minds of voters and lawmakers.