Some women who work in film in Georgia are asking entertainment industry leaders not to boycott the state over a recent anti-abortion law.
A group calling itself “The Women of Film in Georgia” created a Change.org petition Sunday urging filmmakers not to stop filming in the state because Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed a bill that bans abortions after about six weeks.
Though they said they are against the legislation, the filmmakers argued that avoiding projects in the state will hurt industry workers based in Georgia who are struggling to get by.
“It is with some considerable frustration that we have watched our state government and our current governor attempt to ... undermine the ability of Georgia women to make their own reproductive health decisions,” reads the petition.
“In spite of being part of the resistance, we’ll suffer the actions of our elected officials twice over,” the petition continued, noting that women working in the film and media industries would “suffer from loss of income and resources in our industry due to boycotts.”
As of Monday afternoon, the petition had gathered more than 700 signatures.
Earlier this month, Kemp signed a controversial “heartbeat bill,” which bans abortion as soon as a doctor can detect a fetal heartbeat, usually around six weeks into a pregnancy ― when many women don’t even know they’re pregnant yet. The legislation, which faces legal challenges, would make Georgia one of the most restrictive states in the country for women seeking an abortion.
In response, several Hollywood filmmakers have said they wouldn’t work in Georgia ― including David Simon, creator of HBO’s “The Wire,” producer Christine Vachon, behind critically acclaimed films like “Boys Don’t Cry” and “Carol,” actor and producer Ed Helms, and others.
“I understand in a world in which the voter feels disenfranchised they can think their only power is through the dollar,” Molly Coffee, a 37-year-old film production designer who wrote the petition with other female colleagues, told the Los Angeles Times.
“But people aren’t seeing the larger picture — the positive influence the film industry has had on Georgia economically and politically,” she added. “We came really close to flipping the state purple in the last election. Pulling out of Georgia only abandons women of the state.”
Georgia’s generous film and television tax incentives have attracted many big Hollywood productions, including Netflix’s “Stranger Things,” AMC’s “The Walking Dead” and Marvel’s “Avengers” franchise.
Days after Kemp signed the “heartbeat bill,” actress and activist Alyssa Milano responded by proposing that women participate in a sex strike. But many pointed out that such a protest would only serve to perpetuate the false notion of sex as something women provide for men.
Meanwhile, last week, filmmakers JJ Abrams and Jordan Peele said that while they were against Georgia’s new anti-abortion law, they would not be halting production in the state for their upcoming HBO show “Lovecraft Country.” Instead, they plan to donate money from the production to former gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams’ group Fair Fight Georgia, as well as the ACLU of Georgia, which is challenging the heartbeat legislation in court.
Earlier this month, Abrams warned that the anti-abortion bill would “jeopardize our vibrant film industry.” Previously, after her narrow loss in the 2018 gubernatorial race amid a voter suppression controversy, Abrams had urged people not to boycott the state in her name.
“The hard-working Georgians who serve on crews & make a living here are not to blame,” Abrams tweeted at the time.