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Netflix’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos told Variety that the company will continue filming in the state while the legislation — which bans abortions when a fetal heartbeat is detected, usually at 6 weeks — faces a court battle in the coming months.
“We have many women working on productions in Georgia, whose rights, along with millions of others, will be severely restricted by this law. It’s why we will work with the ACLU and others to fight it in court,” Sarandos said in a statement.
“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,” he added.
The streaming service is the first major studio to take a stand on the controversial abortion bill that prompted several Hollywood stars to threaten to boycott the state. Netflix has filmed several projects in Georgia, including “The Haunting of Hill House,” “Stranger Things,” the first two seasons of “Queer Eye” and “Ozark.”
Jason Bateman, who stars in “Ozark” and HBO’s “The Outsider” that’s also filmed in Georgia, told the Hollywood Reporter earlier this month that he will stop working in the state if the legislation goes into effect next year.
"If the 'heartbeat bill' makes it through the court system, I will not work in Georgia, or any other state, that is so disgracefully at odds with women’s rights," Bateman said.
Georgia has largely benefited from the film and television industry by providing 30 percent tax incentives to companies. The state, dubbed "the Hollywood of the South," is the most popular filming location in the U.S. and the site to some blockbusters like “Avengers: Endgame.” Just last fiscal year, the state was the sight of 455 projects that generated about $9.5 billion for the state.
Jason Bateman and Ron Howard said recently they would stop working in Georgia if the "heartbeat" bill goes into effect in January. Alyssa Milano was among the stars who signed a letter vowing to boycott the state. (AP)
If companies and Hollywood heavyweights follow through with their word, Georgia could suffer economically and Georgians could lose out on thousands of jobs.
At least two projects have already reconsidered filming in Georgia since Gov. Brian Kemp signed House Bill 481 into law earlier this month, according to the Hollywood Reporter. “Handmaid’s Tale” director Reed Morano immediately stopped scouting locations in the Peach State for her Amazon series “The Power” following the May 7 signing of the bill.
The upcoming comedy, “Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar,” by Kirsten Wiig and Annie Mumolo, also pulled out of filming in Georgia.
As for now, several projects that were already scheduled before the bill was signed into law will follow through with their plans. Those include Ron Howard’s film “Hillbilly Elegy” and Jordan Peele and J.J. Abrams’ “Lovecraft Country.”
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed the "heartbeat" bill earlier this month. (AP)
Kemp acknowledged the "heartbeat" bill's long road ahead and mocked celebrities who were boycotting the state earlier this month.
“I understand that some folks don’t like this new law. I’m fine with that. We’re elected to do what’s right – and standing up for precious life is always the right thing to do,” Kemp said, according to the Atlanta-Journal Constitution. “We are the party of freedom and opportunity. We value and protect innocent life — even though that makes C-list celebrities squawk.”