Netflix will rethink filming in Georgia if a new abortion law takes effect. Though not well known news to the average moviegoer, the US state of Georgia has been actively working to attract Hollywood productions since 2008. With a potential 30% tax credit offered by the state on all productions over $500,000, Georgia has become a key location for Hollywood, earning it the nickname Hollywood of the South.
In fact, Georgia’s status as a filmmaking state has grown to such a degree that data from the Los Angeles film office reveals that in 2016, more major feature films were made in Georgia than in California. Unbelievable as it may seem to many, Georgia has managed to succeed in a big way, bringing revenue and notoriety to the Peach State. Everything from Black Panther to Stranger Things to The Walking Dead to Spider-Man: Homecoming has a Georgia connection, and as key industry players like Netflix ramp up efforts to maintain their top-dog subscription streaming service status, more Georgia based productions are certainly on their way.
With all that being said, however, over the course of the past few weeks, Georgia’s new “heartbeat bill” - which bans most abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected - has been met with substantial controversy. And, as Deadline reports, the bill is now attracting the attention of Netflix, as well as its chief content officer Ted Sarandos. At present the bill is set to become law next year, but Sarandos has revealed that Netflix would “rethink our entire investment in Georgia” should that occur. Said Sarandos on the issue:
“We have many women working on productions in Georgia, whose rights, along with millions of others, will be severely restricted by this law. 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.”
Netflix and Sarandos aren’t the first members of the film industry to threaten a boycott of the state’s enticing film tax incentives. Earlier this month when the bill first became international news, several production companies announced their refusal to set any further film or television productions in the state until the bill was scrapped. Among them were Mark Duplass and his Duplass Brothers Productions, Christine Vachon’s Killer Films - which was responsible for Oscar winning films Boys Don’t Cry and Carol, as well as The Wire creator David Simon’s Blown Deadline Productions, which is most recently responsible for the Golden Globe nominated series The Deuce. Furthermore, Alyssa Milano has led the signing of a letter pledging not to work in the state should the “heartbeat bill” become actual law, which has been signed by 50 Hollywood figures.
While many stars will continue to work in the state regardless of the bill, some big names like J.J. Abrams and Jordan Peele have stated that although they'll continue to work in the state on their upcoming HBO horror series Lovecraft Country, profits from the series will be donated to groups fighting the bill. To date, Georgia has secured considerable profits by attracting Hollywood. Should the “heartbeat bill” become law, however, the economic effects of a company as huge as Netflix pulling out could have considerable implications.