Hollywood Piles On in Georgia Boycott

The Hunger Games

The stars are aligning to condemn an antigay Georgia bill.

A day after Disney, Marvel, AMC, and Viacom threatened to boycott the Southern state, 21st Century Fox, Time Warner, Starz, the Weinstein Co., Lionsgate, and a slew of celebrities, showrunners, and executives are also urging a veto of the legislation, reports Deadline.

After passing both the state House and Senate, the bill that has reached Gov. Nathan Deal's desk would allow businesses, nonprofits, and individuals to discriminate against LGBT people and others by citing religious beliefs.

The Human Rights Campaign and many others are concerned that House Bill 757 would allow adoption and foster care agencies, homeless shelters, drug clinics, food pantries, and for-profit businesses to refuse service to LGBT people.

In response, these media giants have vowed to "take their business elsewhere," a total "$1.7 billion in direct spending" in Georgia, as stated in a Thursday letter from the HRC.

Greg Berlanti, Matt Bomer, Dustin Lance Black, Kristin Chenoweth, Diablo Cody, Bruce Cohen, Lee Daniels, Dana Fox, Anne Hathaway, Zoe Kravitz, Seth MacFarlane, Neil Meron, Julianne Moore, Ryan Murphy, Peter Paige, Aaron Sorkin, Marisa Tomei, and Craig Zadan were also among those who signed the following letter:

Dear Governor Deal, As leaders in the entertainment industry, we have deep concerns about H.B. 757, which would sanction discrimination against LGBT people and others in Georgia.

As you know, Atlanta is often referred to as the Hollywood of the South. During the last fiscal year, at least 248 films and television productions were shot in Georgia, adding at least $1.7 billion in direct spending to the state’s economy. Additionally, the entertainment industry helped to bring more than 100 businesses to Georgia through relocation or expansion in the past fiscal year. Only two states — California and New York — have a larger entertainment industry footprint and both have statewide non-discrimination protections on the books. Unfortunately, Georgia not only lacks such protections, but could soon move from a bad situation to worse with H.B. 757.

We pride ourselves on running inclusive companies, and while we have enjoyed a positive partnership on productions in Georgia, we will plan to take our business elsewhere if any legislation sanctioning discrimination is signed into state law.

We urge you to veto H.B. 757 and send a strong message that Georgia will not tolerate discrimination against citizens, employees and visitors to the state.

Thank you in advance for your consideration of this urgent issue.

Last weekend, HRC president Chad Griffin made a plea for Hollywood to stand up against the bill during a Los Angeles gala fundraiser this weekend. 

"You have the influence and the opportunity to not only defeat this bill, but to send a message that there are consequences to passing dangerous and hateful laws like this," Griffin told them Saturday.

They heard his call to action.

“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,” a Disney spokesman said yesterday.

“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 Gov. Deal to veto this bill,” a Fox spokesperson said Thursday.

“Lionsgate has deep roots in the State of Georgia in our film, television and location-based entertainment businesses,” said a spokesperson for Lionsgate, which produces The Hunger Games. “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.”

Chad Griffin, the president of the Human Rights Campaign, praised Hollywood for "taking a stand today against discrimination, intolerance, and bigotry."

“The entertainment industry has a huge economic footprint in Georgia, and the choice for Governor Deal could not be any clearer: he must veto this outrageous legislation before it inflicts tremendous damage on the state," Griffin said in a statement. "This outrageous and discriminatory legislation is an affront to the values we all share.”

Other major Georgia-related corporations have spoken out about HB 757 — including Hilton and Dell — but Disney certainly upped the ante by promising to boycott production. The NFL recently insinuated it would not allow Atlanta to host future Super Bowls if HB 757 becomes law.

Latest videos on Advocate

READER COMMENTS ()