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Georgia faces exodus of major film studios over controversial abortion law

on May 30, 2019, 5:17pm

First it was Netflix, then Disney. Now, Georgia’s flourishing film industry is facing a mass exodus in protest of the state’s controversial law banning abortions.

Today, several major studios followed the leads of Netflix and Disney in threatening to cease operations in Georgia. That includes WarnerMedia, NBCUniversal, Sony, and AMC.

WarnerMedia has several major projects currently in production in Georgia, including The Conjuring 3 and Suicide Squad 2. Additionally, HBO, a subsidiary of Warner, is currently filming Lovecraft County and The Outsider in the state.

In a statement WarnerMedia said, “We operate and produce work in many states and within several countries at any given time, and while that doesn’t mean we agree with every position taken by a state or country and their leaders, we do respect due process. We will watch the situation closely, and if the new law holds we will reconsider Georgia as the home to any new productions. As is always the case, we will work closely with our production partners and talent to determine how and where to shoot any given project.”

NBCUniversal echoed a similar sentiment, saying that if the bill is fully enacted, it would “strongly impact our decision-making decision-making on where we produce our content in the future.” “We fully expect that the heartbeat bills and similar laws in various states will face serious legal challenges and will not go into effect while the process proceeds in court,” the company said.

Meanwhile, Sony said it will “continue to monitor that process in close consultation with our filmmakers and television showrunners, talent and other stakeholders as we consider our future production options.”

AMC, which films its tentpole series, The Walking Dead, in Georgia, is also threatening to walk way. “If this highly restrictive legislation goes into effect, we will reevaluate our activity in Georgia,” the network said. “Similar bills – some even more restrictive – have passed in multiple states and have been challenged. This is likely to be a long and complicated fight and we are watching it all very closely.”

Alabama’s law bans abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy, when many women are still unaware of being pregnant at all. While hardly the first bill of its nature to rise through state governments in recent weeks, it’s drawing ire from a substantial number of producers and filmmakers who use the state’s myriad sound stages and lucrative tax credits for their productions.

Should the studios follow through with their threats, it could have a devastating impact on Georgia’s economy. In 2017 alone, the film and TV industry generated $9.5 billion in revenue for the state.

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