Anne Hathaway, Lee Daniels, Seth MacFarlane, and Matt Bomer are just a few of the celebrities adding their voices to the growing chorus condemning a Georgia bill that would legalize discrimination based on sexual orientation. And studios The Weinstein Company and Time Warner have also joined the fight.
The Georgia state legislature recently passed House Bill 757, which would allow faith-based organizations to discriminate based on sexual orientation, and Republican Gov. Nathan Deal now has to decide before May 3 whether to sign or veto the bill.
Thursday morning, more than 30 celebrities and industry leaders signed their name to a letter released by the Human Rights Campaign vowing not to work in the Southern state should Deal sign the bill.
“As leaders in the entertainment industry, we have deep concerns about H.B. 757, which would sanction discrimination against LGBT people and others in Georgia,” the letter reads. “As you know, Atlanta is often referred to as the Hollywood of the South. During the last fiscal year, at least 248 films and television productions were shot in Georgia, adding at least $1.7 billion in direct spending to the state’s economy. Additionally, the entertainment industry helped to bring more than 100 businesses to Georgia through relocation or expansion in the past fiscal year. Only two states — California and New York — have a larger entertainment industry footprint and both have statewide non-discrimination protections on the books. Unfortunately, Georgia not only lacks such protections, but could soon move from a bad situation to worse with H.B. 757.”
On Wednesday, Disney and Marvel became the first movie studio to speak out against the bill, promising to move their productions elsewhere if the bill becomes a law. Now, The Weinstein Company has vowed to do the same with its upcoming Lee Daniels movie.
“The Weinstein Company will not stand behind sanctioning the discrimination of LGBT people or any American,” a Weinstein spokesperson said. “We have plans in place to begin filming Lee Daniels’ new film in Georgia later this year, but will move the production if this unlawful bill is enacted. We hope Governor Deal will veto bill HB 757 and not allow sanctioned bigotry to become law in Georgia.”
Time Warner — the parent company of HBO and Warner Bros. — also criticized the bill in a statement.
“At Time Warner, diversity in all its forms is core to our value system and to the success of our business,” the statement reads. “We strongly oppose the discriminatory language and intent of Georgia’s pending religious liberty bill, which clearly violates the values and principles of inclusion and the ability of all people to live and work free from discrimination.
“All of our divisions — HBO, Warner Bros. and Turner — have business interests in Georgia, but none more than Turner, an active participant in the Georgia Prospers campaign, a coalition of business leaders committed to a Georgia that welcomes all people. Georgia bill HB 757 is in contradiction to this campaign, to the values we hold dear, and to the type of workplace we guarantee to our employees. We urge Governor Deal to exercise his veto.”
In recent years, Georgia has become one of the country’s biggest movie-making destinations, thanks to state tax cuts for film and TV projects and the recent construction of state-of-the-art studio facilities.