Entertainment Industry Sends Powerful Message to Georgia’s Governor on Anti-LGBT Bill

By Adam Polaski • March 25, 2016 • 2:00 pm

It’s been a whirlwind week for the state of Georgia, as dozens of businesses, leaders, and – increasingly – film industry professionals have taken a stand against anti-LGBT legislation that has been approved by the state legislature and now awaits action from Governor Nathan Deal. Tens of thousands of Georgians have already urged him to veto the bill, and now he’s feeling tremendous pressure from the entertainment industry.

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You can click here to read 13 good reasons why Governor Deal should veto – but below, check out the many entertainment companies specifically saying they’d take their productions – and all of the economic benefits that brings to Georgia – elsewhere if Governor Deal signs HB 757 into law.

Disney and Marvel: The company, which has filmed blockbusters like Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and Captain America: Civil War in Georgia, has said it will relocate future productions from the state. A spokesperson said: “Disney and Marvel are inclusive companies, and although we have had great experiences filming in Georgia, we will plan to take our business elsewhere should any legislation allowing discriminatory practices be signed into state law.”

AMC: The cable television network that films the massively popular, record-breaking The Walking Dead in Georgia commented on the legislation: “As a company, AMC Networks believes that discrimination of any kind is reprehensible. We applaud Governor Deal’s leadership in resisting a previous version of this divisive legislation and urge him to reject the current version as well.”

21st Century Fox: A spokesperson for the film company said: “On behalf of 21st Century Fox’s many creative partners and colleagues who choose to film their projects in the beautiful state of Georgia, we join the growing coalition of businesses in asking Governor Deal to veto this bill.”

Lionsgate: After filming each of the films in the Hunger Games franchise in and around Atlanta, the company said: “Lionsgate has deep roots in the State of Georgia in our film, television and location-based entertainment businesses. As a Company committed to diversity, inclusiveness and tolerance, we urge the Governor of Georgia to veto the deplorable and regressive legislation (House Bill 757) that has been sent to him.  We take pride in our relationship with the people of Georgia and want to ensure that we can continue to offer our employees and talent there a working environment consistent with our policies and values.”

Sony: This week Sony Pictures’ Chief Communications Officer Robert Lawson told reporters: “Georgia Bill HB 757 is anathema to our studio and to all those who value diversity and inclusion. We strongly urge Governor Deal to exercise his veto.”

MGM: “MGM is unequivocally committed to inclusion, diversity and tolerance in all circumstances. We stand beside our many studio partners in publicly encouraging Governor Deal to veto the discriminatory House Bill 757. Our sincere hope is the state repudiates this hateful and bigoted legislation.”

Netflix: The rapidly expanding entertainment behemoth is set to continue filming in Georgia soon – but they won’t if Governor Deal signs the bill into law. The company said: “Netflix is an inclusive company. We recently completed two films and a series in Georgia and had planned on filming two series there in the coming months. Should any legislation allowing discriminatory practice be signed into state law, we will move our productions elsewhere.”

STX Entertainment:  “STX Entertainment is an ardent supporter of diversity, participation and access and opposes discrimination of any kind. We join others in the creative and business communities to strongly urge Governor Deal to veto this bill.”

CBS: “CBS Corporation is committed to an environment that values diversity and inclusion throughout the company and in all our business practices. The discriminatory language in Georgia’s proposed religious liberty bill conflicts with these core ethics and values. We call on Governor Deal to exercise his veto power.”

Open Road Films: The film company that distributed Spotlight, which won the 2016 Academy Award for Best Picture, said: “Open Road Films is proud to support diversity and inclusion in all of our business practices. We will not remain silent in the face of a discriminatory law such as Georgia House Bill 757. Along with our colleagues in the motion picture industry, we urge Governor Deal to veto this reprehensible proposed law.”

Amblin Partners: This company, headed up by Stephen Spielberg, also sounded off: “Amblin Partners is committed to diversity and inclusion for all. We would be disappointed to see our pipeline of production end at the Georgia border because of this legislation.  While we are aware that Governor Deal has not yet made a decision, we stand with our industry colleagues in strongly urging him to veto this bill.”

Discovery Communications: “Discovery Communications has a 30-year commitment to the values of diversity, inclusion, and acceptance of all cultures and lifestyles. As a purpose-driven company, we strive to promote a value system that respects differences, empowers communities, and inspires us all to create a more vibrant world.  We strongly oppose any laws tolerating discrimination of any kind.  We urge Gov. Deal to veto the proposed Georgia law that would limit the freedoms and protections of LGBT residents of Georgia.”

NBC: “At Comcast NBCUniversal we are proud of our record of inclusion and stand against discrimination of all forms. We join the voices that urge Governor Deal to protect Georgia from any discriminatory laws.”

 


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