Netflix has vowed to fight Georgia’s new “heartbeat” abortion law in court alongside the American Civil Liberties Union and, if need be, reconsider the company’s whole investment in the state.
In a statement to Variety published Tuesday, Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos sounded the alarm on the law banning abortion once cardiac activity is detected in an embryo ― which bill sponsors inaccurately refer to as a “fetal heartbeat.” That typically occurs around six weeks into pregnancy, often before women know they’re pregnant.
“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.”
Netflix is the only major studio to commit to taking action against the state’s law, according to Variety. However, if more companies follow, it could spell trouble for Georgia’s film industry, which has been built partly on its generous production incentives.
Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed the bill into law earlier this month, but it isn’t set to take effect until 2020, leaving a window of time for legal challenges that could delay or block the legislation altogether.
Less than two weeks after Kemp approved the measure, several district attorneys told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution they would not prosecute any women who have abortions under the law, which criminalizes performing the procedure as well.
In March, more than 100 actors and actresses often asked to participate in Georgia-based productions signed a letter promoted by Alyssa Milano to oppose the bill, threatening to end their work there if it became law and “do everything in our power to move our industry to a safer state for women.”
This month, Milano, who stars in Netflix’s “Insatiable,” which has been filmed in Georgia, called for a boycott of the state as a result.
“I will do everything in my power to get as many productions as possible — including ‘Insatiable’ — to move out of this state which continues to put forth oppressive, hurtful policy that contradicts everything the entertainment industry stands for,” she told The Wrap.
Actor Jason Bateman, who appears in two shows shot in Georgia ― Netflix’s “Ozark” and HBO’s “The Outsider” ― told The Hollywood Reporter that he, too, would boycott if the law is upheld.
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