Hollywood producer and investor Peter Chernin has started a campaign to raise millions of dollars fighting anti-abortion laws in Georgia, calling on other media moguls to join him.
“I am launching a campaign to contribute to the $15 million that is needed to fund the A.C.L.U.’s legal efforts to battle the national anti-abortion effort,” Mr. Chernin wrote in an email last week, referring to the American Civil Liberties Union. The email, according to the New York Times, was sent to all of the executives of the major movie studios, as well as Jeff Bezos, Tim Cook and Shonda Rhimes.
Having already given $1 million, Chernin believes he has “a moral responsibility to act immediately.”
As Christian Headlines previously reported, in recent weeks, Georgia has applied heavy pressure against abortion, signing one of the most restrictive pro-life bills in the country on May 7. Should it take effect in January 2020, the bill would prohibit abortions after a heartbeat is detected.
Due to the state’s hefty tax breaks for production companies, it’s also found itself in the crosshairs of Hollywood’s liberal priorities. The Writer’s Guild of America threatened to boycott. Disney and Warner Media have considered relocating. And Netflix has linked support with ACLU.
The financial strain, however, may be too much for the production companies. The New York Times reported, “Studio executives have privately worried that taking a stand against the issue might hurt ticket sales in huge swaths of the country, where many oppose abortion.” The state offers a 20% tax credit and an additional 10% if the Georgia Film Commission’s logo appears in the credits.
Despite many of these studio’s stances, however, Disney and Netflix continue to film in foreign countries where abortion is still illegal and human rights are threatened. According to the Wall Street Journal, “More than a few Americans may also notice the contradiction that Disney is more worried about filming in a U.S. state that has passed a law democratically than it is operating its theme park and hawking its films in China, which uses facial-recognition software to monitor its population…”
Georgia houses several film sets that have taken the place for California, New York, South Korea and Nigeria. “The Walking Dead” and several Marvel movies were filmed in the state. Nearly 92,000 jobs would be affected should Hollywood boycott.
Chernin has opted to not boycott the state because of the harm it could cause to thousands of Georgia residents. “Firing workers, most of whom oppose this legislation, does not seem like a just response,” he said. “Taking action against only Georgia felt like a highly narrow and targeted response to a national battle. Abandoning and isolating parts of the country that we don’t agree with strikes me as a dangerous response.”
Chernin’s company has produced popular films, such as “The Greatest Showman,” “Hidden Figures,” and “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.”
Photo courtesy: Getty Images/Drew Angerer/Staff
Mikaela Mathews is a freelance writer and editor based in Dallas, TX. She was the editor of a local magazine and a contributing writer for the Galveston Daily News and Spirit Magazine. She blogs at mikaelamathews.com.