Disney and Marvel Threaten to Pull Projects Out of Georgia
Executives at The Walt Disney Company, AMC Networks and Marvel Studios will not stand for discrimination against homosexuals in Georgia.
Politicians in the U.S. state passed a bill last week, which, if signed, will give faith-based businesses the right to fire gay employees and refuse to provide services or goods to members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual or gay (LGBT) community based on their sexual preference.
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal is currently considering whether or not to sign the measure into law, but if this controversial proposal, which has been deemed ‘anti-gay’ by many critics, is mandated by him, it is likely the financial repercussions will be massive, with bosses at Disney, AMC and Marvel threatening to end all business in the state.
“Disney and Marvel are inclusive companies, and although we have had great experiences filming in Georgia, we will plan to take our business elsewhere should any legislation allowing discriminatory practices be signed into state law,” a spokesperson for Disney said in a statement issued to Variety on Wednesday.
While AMC didn’t threaten to pull it’s productions out of the state. The network did comment on the proposed law saying, “As a company, AMC Networks believes that discrimination of any kind is reprehensible. We applaud Governor Deal’s leadership in resisting a previous version of this divisive legislation and urge him to reject the current version as well.”
Two of AMC’s series film in Georgia, Halt and Catch Fire as well as the hit series The Walking Dead (which is set to begin filming its seventh season in May). The state has provided numerous tax breaks for moviemakers, which is why many Hollywood films have been shot there in recent years.
Marvel bosses are currently shooting the upcoming the Guardians of the Galaxy sequel at Pinewood Studios, located just outside Atlanta. Although the production budget for the sequel has been largely kept under wraps, it is likely the movie’s financing mirrors the $195.9 million budget allotted for its 2014 predecessor.
Scenes from Marvel’s upcoming release Captain America: Civil War were also shot at Pinewood Studios last year, with many additional scenes being filmed in downtown Atlanta.
However, Vans Stevenson, the senior vice president of state government affairs at the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), doesn’t think Governor Deal will move forward on the piece of legislation before him.
“We are confident that Governor Deal will not allow a discriminatory bill to become law in Georgia,” Stevenson noted.
If Governor Nathan Deal does not veto, the bill would go into effect May 3, 2016.