Netflix’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos said the streaming service (which is spending billions of dollars on an ever-growing catalog of original content) will “rethink [its] whole investment in Georgia” if a recently signed abortion law goes into effect.
Sarandos’ statement was first published in Variety. The industry publication said it reached out to the major studios for comment on the issue, and it contrasted his position with a lack of response from The Walt Disney Company, WarnerMedia, Sony Pictures Entertainment, NBCUniversal, Viacom, Fox and Amazon Studios.
“We have many women working on productions in Georgia, whose rights, along with millions of others, will be severely restricted by this law,” Sarandos said. “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.”
This comes as the stars of two Netflix shows — Jason Bateman of “Ozark” and Alyssa Milano of “Insatiable” — have said they would stop filming in the state if the law takes effect.
Other filmmakers have taken the route of Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, who said they’ll proceed with plans to film their Netflix movie “Hillbilly Elegy” in Georgia while making a donation to the ACLU to fight the anti-abortion legislation. (Howard and Grazer also said they will boycott the state if the law takes effect.)
The law in question, which was signed by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp on May 7, prohibits abortion after the detection of a fetal heartbeat — something that usually happens after six weeks of pregnancy. It’s widely seen as part of a larger effort aimed at getting the Supreme Court to overturn or weaken the abortion protections established in Roe v. Wade.
Thanks to state tax incentives, Georgia has become a hub for film and TV, with productions bringing the state an estimated $2.7 billion in revenue in 2017.
Update: In an interview with Reuters, Disney CEO Bob Iger was asked whether the company (which shot “Black Panther,” “Avengers: Endgame” and other big productions in Georgia) would continue filming in the state if the law took effect.
“I rather doubt we will,” Iger replied. “I think many people who work for us will not want to work there, and we will have to heed their wishes in that regard. Right now we are watching it very carefully.”