Netflix Joins Pushback Against Anti-LGBT Legislation in Georgia
Up until very recently, Georgia was a haven for film productions, the rolling amber waves of generous tax breaks beckoning to crews from Hollywood to New York. That all changed when the Georgia state legislature moved to pass a new bill that harshly restricts the rights of LGBT individuals under the guise of religious freedom. The Free Exercise Protection Act grants any religious official the option to refuse to officiate a non-hetero couple’s wedding, and permits any employer to discriminate in hiring and service practices on the basis of sexual orientation, all under the rationale that being forced to interact with queer men and women in any capacity would violate their religious freedom. Such giants of the entertainment industry as Disney/Marvel, Warner Bros., AMC, Viacom and Sony have all urged a veto to the bill, with the threat of withdrawing all operations from Georgia looming over the legislators. (Really, everyone is against this thing; the NFL has threatened to pull Atlanta from all future Super Bowl hosting opportunities, the MPAA spoke out against it, and even the Atlanta Hawks and the Atlanta-based Coca-Cola have denounced the bill.) And now another key player has gotten on the right side of history.
Netflix made their position crystal clear in a new announcement released last night, reports Deadline. The online streaming-video platform has no intention of tolerating this intolerance, according to this official statement from a spokesperson for Netflix:
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.
Like dominos falling one after another, Georgia is on the verge of destroying its own entertainment economy, which Deadline estimates brought in approximately $1.7 billion in 2015. No state can afford to suddenly lose $1.7 billion. Governor Nathan Deal has until May 3 to pass an official veto on the bill. With angrily furrowed brows, Hollywood awaits his decision.