Anne Hathaway, Julianne Moore, Seth MacFarlane, Lee Daniels and Harvey Weinstein have joined a call to boycott filmmaking in Georgia should the state’s governor sign a controversial “religious freedom” law that many view as discriminating against the LGBT community, Reuters reports.
Nearly 40 Hollywood players, from actors and actresses to directors, writers, talent agents and producers signed a petition issued by the Human Rights Campaign protesting H.B. 757, which the Georgia legislature passed last week. The bill, similar to other “religious freedom” laws, makes it legal for pastors to refuse to perform same-sex marriages and for businesses to deny services to people whose lifestyles are in conflict with their religious beliefs. Governor Nathan Deal, a Republican, has until May 3rd to decide whether to sign the bill.
As the HRC letter notes, Georgia has become a hotspot for film and television productions, both due to its temperate climate and tax incentives (only New York and Los Angeles have larger entertainment industries). In the last fiscal year, at least 248 productions were shot in Georgia, injecting at least $1.7 billion into the state’s economy.
“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,” the letter reads.
Other entertainment giants have promised to pull productions from the state as well should H.B. 757 go into effect including Viacom, 21st Century Fox, AMC, Time Warner, Disney and Marvel Entertainment. In a statement, the Weinstein Company called the bill “sanctioned bigotry” and said it would move its production of an upcoming Richard Pryor biopic should H.B. 757 be signed.
Companies outside of the film industry have called for the bill to be dropped as well, including Coca-Cola and Delta Air Lines, both of which are headquartered in Atlanta, and Google, which operates a sales and engineering office in the capital as well. The National Football League has also said that Atlanta could lose the chance to host any future Super Bowls should the law be signed.