Disney CEO Bob Iger has stated he doubts the multi-billion dollar company will continue filming in Georgia if the state’s new abortion law takes effect. Over the past decade or so, Georgia’s reputation as a filmmaking state has grown considerably thanks to a tax break incentive for productions filming in-state. In fact, according to the Los Angeles film office, more movies were made in the Peach State in 2016 than in California. Popular TV shows such as Ozark and The Walking Dead are filmed in Georgia and Disney has filmed several of its recent MCU mega-hits in the state too, including Black Panther and Avengers: Endgame included.
But the state’s filmmaking future may be in jeopardy after Georgia's Governor Brian Kemp signed a bill that would ban abortions after the stage at which a fetal heartbeat can be detected - which is around six weeks. Dubbed the "heartbeat bill," it will take effect in January 2020 if the bill is enacted. Georgia is one of several U.S. states including Ohio and Louisiana to introduce an anti-abortion bill this year. The difference is that states like Ohio and Louisiana don’t have a booming film industry that provides thousands and thousands of jobs for its residents.
Georgia’s proposed abortion law does not sit well with Disney. In a Reuters exclusive, CEO Bob Iger stated he predicts it will be “very difficult” for Disney to keep filming in Georgia if the law comes into effect. His comments on the matter suggest Disney and Georgia’s future could be on the rocks:
“I think many people who work for us will not want to work there, and we will have to heed their wishes in that regard. Right now we are watching it very carefully … I don’t see how it’s practical for us to continue to shoot there.”
Disney isn’t the only entertainment giant put off by Georgia’s new bill. Netflix, which films its hit show Stranger Things in the state, recently announced it would rethink shooting in Georgia if the new abortion law takes effect. JJ Abrams and Jordan Peele, whose upcoming horror series Lovecraft Country is being filmed in Georgia, recently stated they would continue to shoot in the state but would donate profits from the show to groups fighting the abortion bill.
This isn’t the first time Disney has disagreed with Georgia’s stance on certain issues. Back in 2016, Disney and Marvel threatened to boycott the state if it passed a law that sought to restrict LGBT rights but backed down when the proposed bill was vetoed. Three years on, Disney and Georgia are facing a similar situation that could see their lucrative partnership come to an end. Considering that Black Panther alone generated over $80 million for Georgia’s economy, the state may come to regret its new abortion bill.