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Georgia’s Abortion Law Has Managed to Piss Off Disney

“I think many people who work for us will not want to work there," said CEO Bob Iger.

by Trone Dowd
May 30 2019, 4:14pm

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The House of Mouse is joining the fight against stricter abortion laws.

Disney CEO Bob Iger said in an interview with Reuters Wednesday night that the studio would likely pull out of Georgia if the state’s strict abortion law goes into effect.

“If it becomes law, I don’t see how it’s practical for us to continue to shoot there,” Iger said. “I think many people who work for us will not want to work there and we’ll have to heed their wishes in that regard.”

The just-passed law banning all abortions after just six weeks of pregnancy is part of a wave in conservative states trying to trigger a challenge to Roe v. Wade. Both Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union have already filed lawsuits against the state.

While this will not affect any of Disney’s current productions, Iger said they’ll be keeping a close eye on how this all unfolds.

“Right now we’re watching it very carefully,” he continued. “I guess there’s some speculation that [the law] could be enacted sometime after the first of the year. I think it’s also likely to be challenged in the courts and that could delay it. We’re being careful and cautious about it.”

Iger’s comments mark only the second Hollywood studio of note threatening the red state with such actions. On Tuesday, Variety reported that Netflix would not only pull future productions from the state but also actively work to help dismantle the restrictive abortion law before it’s set in stone.

“We have many women working on productions in Georgia, whose rights, along with millions of others, will be severely restricted by this law,” Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said. “It’s why we will work with the ACLU and others to fight it in court. 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.”

Georgia has become a production hot spot in recent years thanks to generous tax breaks and incentives instated in 2008. Studios that spend at least $500,000 in the state receive a 20 percent tax credit. They can also receive an additional 10 percent in tax breaks for simply featuring the signature Georgia Peach logo in the film’s credits. Some of Disney’s biggest blockbusters, including “Avengers: Endgame” and 2018’s “Black Panther,” were shot in the state.

The tax incentives have paid off. Georgia has brought in more than $2.7 billion in revenue and 92,000 jobs, according to the Motion Picture Association of America.

This isn’t the first time Hollywood has thrown their weight around to help combat laws they disagree with. In 2016, Disney, Viacom, Time Warner, the NFL and others threatened to boycott Georgia in protest of the proposed Free Exercise Protection Act. The bill, which tried to legalize discriminatory practices against the LGBTQ community in the name of “religious freedom,” was passed by state legislators but quickly vetoed by Gov. Nathan Deal once the financial ramifications became clear.

Cover: Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, Bob Iger, arrives at the 91st Academy Awards Nominees Luncheon on Monday, Feb. 4, 2019, at The Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)