Eight major Hollywood studios put their money where their mouths are Thursday promising to immediately halt filming in Georgia if Gov. Deal signs the anti-LGBT bill into law.
Georgia is at risk to lose over 6 billion dollars in studio income if Deal signs the “Free Exercise Protection Act” (HB 757), a bill that would allow faith-based organizations to deny services to LGBT individuals.
Weinstein Company joined Disney, 21st Century Fox, Time Warner, Netflix, Open Road, Sony and Lionsgate in announcing they would boycott shooting in Georgia if the bill was passed. Notably missing from the list is Universal Studios who offered a vaguely worded statement in support of LGBT equality. However rumors are the Comcast-owned company will or has already begun the filming of Fast and Furious 8 in Atlanta
The 6 billion dollar figure does not include other potential losses to the state’s revenue. The NFL said the bill could cost Atlanta the opportunity to host the Super Bowl. According to CNN Money Georgia Prospers, which represents over 480 companies, also denounced the bill. Several big companies are members of the group, including Coca-Cola, Delta, Home Depot, UPS and Marriott.
Georgia is one of three state’s that offers monetary incentives to film industry being a ‘right to work’ state (employers can fire will). Indie Wire reports Georgia is not the only state that offers a 30% rebate to film and television productions, but they are one of the only states left that extends that kickback to include above-the-line talent, like actors and directors. So for example, one of the reasons a film like “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues” choose to shoot in Atlanta, rather than New York, which also offers a 30% rebate, is because Paramount not only saved 30% on production costs, but also got 30% back on the millions of dollars they spent paying director Adam McKay, Will Ferrell and the other big name cast members.
Hollywoods support of LGBT equality is in sharp contrast to the corporate response to North Carolina’s new law which openly discriminates against transgender and gay people. At this time, LGBT people have felt let down since those companies have not taken any concrete steps.