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Disney and Netflix say they will reconsider filming in Georgia if abortion ban comes into effect

Netflix and Disney say they'll reconsider their productions in Georgia if the law comes into effect in 2020. Credit: AP

Two of the world's biggest media companies, Disney and Netflix, have said they will have to reconsider producing movies in the US state of Georgia if newly passed abortion laws come into effect.

The south eastern state is one of eight to have approved laws banning abortion and in Georgia, if the law comes into effect, pregnancy termination will become illegal in almost all scenarios - except rape and incest.

Thanks to tax credits which encourage companies to film movies there, Atlanta in Georgia has become home to some of the world's most popular productions, including Netflix's Stranger Things and Disney's Black Panther.

But Netflix said it would "rethink our entire investment" in Georgia, if the law comes into force, as scheduled in January 2020, and Disney said it would be "very difficult" to continue filming there.

Women's rights campaigners have been protesting anti-abortion laws in Georgia. Credit: NBC

In a statement, Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said: "We have many women working on productions in Georgia, whose rights, along with millions of others, will be severely restricted by this law.

"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."

Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger told Reuters it would damage Georgia's efforts to create production jobs in the state if his company pulled out.

Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said in a statement that the streaming giant will work with the American Civil Liberties Union and others to fight the law in court. Credit: AP

He 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.”

Both say they will continue filming there for the time being but Netflix has committed to help fight the ban by working with the American Civil Liberties Union and others to contest the law in court.

Near-identical laws have also been approved in states such as Alabama and while protests there have been fierce, Georgia is also facing opposition from Hollywood owing to the high number of productions created there.

It is known as the 'Hollywood of the south' in America owing to generous tax incentives which have resulted in many productions taking place there.

Abortion is quickly becoming a newly polarising issue in the US with many campaigners hoping to overturn the landmark Roe v Wade ruling which legalised abortion on a federal level. Credit: NBC

According to the state, there were 455 productions shot in Georgia last year and the TV and film industry has brought in over 92,000 jobs according to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).

Since Georgia governor Brian Kemp signed the ban into law, many others in the industry said they would refuse to take their productions to the state.

Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo said they would relocate their Lionsgate film Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar, while Reed Morano's Amazon series The Power also uprooted.

Producers including Christine Vachon, David Simon and Mark Duplass have said they would bypass Georgia in the future.

Jordan Peele and J.J. Abrams are continuing to make their HBO show "Lovecraft County" in Georgia, but they said they will donate all of their "episodic fees" to organisations fighting the law, including the ACLU.

Jordan Peele (L) and J.J. Abrams are donating their 'episodic fees' to organisations fighting the law, including the ACLU. Credit: AP

Abortion is quickly becoming a newly polarising issue in the US with many campaigners hoping to overturn the landmark Roe v Wade ruling which legalised abortion on a federal level.

Georgia's abortion ban is being called the 'heartbeat bill' because, as the law outlines, pregnancy termination will be illegal once a fetal heartbeat is detected, except in the case of rape or incest.