Netflix may ‘rethink’ Georgia if abortion law takes effect

click to enlarge Netflix may ‘rethink’ Georgia if abortion law takes effect
Stranger Things
Cara Buckley
New York Times News Service

Streaming giant Netflix has become the first major Hollywood studio to publicly weigh in on Georgia’s restrictive abortion law, with Ted Sarandos, its chief content officer, saying the company would “rethink our entire investment in Georgia” should the law go into effect.

Signed on May 7, the so-called fetal heartbeat law prompted calls for Hollywood to boycott Georgia, a major production hub for film and television that has generated 92,000 jobs in the state and $2.7 billion in annual revenues.

While a small handful of productions canceled prospective plans to shoot in the state — location scouting for the coming series “The Power” and a new Kristen Wiig movie have both been nixed — large studios, including Warner Bros. and Disney, stayed mum, unwilling to risk alienating audiences by coming down on either side. Privately, studio executives said they are hoping that the law, which bans abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detectable, except in cases of rape or incest, gets struck down as unconstitutional, as has happened in other states.

If unchallenged, the law will go into effect in January 2020. Should that happen, Netflix, which has productions in the state including the series “Stranger Things” and “Ozark,” along with the upcoming film “Holidate,” is suggesting it might consider boycotting, too.

“We have many women working on productions in Georgia, whose rights, along with millions of others, will be severely restricted by this law,” Sarandos said in a statement released Monday, and first reported by Variety. “It’s why we will work with the A.C.L.U. 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 started to become a major production hub about a decade ago after offering incentives that allowed productions to claim 20% in tax credits and another 10% for attaching the state’s peach logo to the credits. Several “Hunger Games” movies, “Captain America: Civil War” and “Black Panther” are among the major films produced there.

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