Atlanta mayor not in favor of boycotting Georgia businesses over voting law

ATLANTA — In an exclusive interview with Channel 2 Action News, Atlanta’s mayor says she didn’t like Major League Baseball’s decision to move the All-Star Game, but understands why it was made.

Bottoms spoke one-on-one with Channel 2′s Jorge Estevez on Monday about the reaction to the state’s new voting bill signed into law.

“I understand why they pulled out. I don’t like it. I don’t like the fact that small businesses will suffer. This was money that could have been infused into the local economy. I don’t like it. But I understand it and I respect the decision,” Bottoms said. “It really is the first of many likely decisions that we will see in the near future, unless something changes about this voting bill.”

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MLB commissioner Rob Manfred announced Friday that the Atlanta Braves would no longer host the All-Star Game in July, saying the MLB “fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box.”

Following the MLB’s decision, Bottoms sent out this tweet:

“Just as elections have consequences, so do the actions of those who are elected. Unfortunately, the removal of the MLB All Star game from GA is likely the 1st of many dominoes to fall, until the unnecessary barriers put in place to restrict access to the ballot box are removed.”

[EXPLAINER: What does Georgia’s new election law do?]

MLB is not the only one to make a statement regarding Georgia’s new voting laws. The chief executives of Delta Air Lines and Coca-Cola also came out against the bill.

There are also calls for boycott of Georgia businesses, something Bottoms is encouraging groups not to do.

“I am not in favor of a boycott of the state of Georgia. No, I’m absolutely not in favor of that. However, I do understand and respect that an entity has made a decision to push back against these restrictive voting laws. But I’m not in support of it, because it’s impacting our local economy,” she said.

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The mayor told Estevez that other conventions and large groups have been calling her office to discuss whether to fulfill their commitments. So far, Bottoms said no other groups have officially told her they are pulling out.

Bottoms believes there is still an opportunity for Georgia legislators to fix the voting law before it goes into effect.

“There’s an opportunity for the legislators to go back into session and to rethink what they’ve done. There’s an opportunity for them to address it in January. So a long time between now and January, that’s a lot of money potentially that will be lost in our state,” Bottoms said.

“And then when you look at our major corporations in this state, and you look at Delta Air Lines, one of the largest employers in the state, it’s not just about white collar workers. It’s about the people who work in the cafeterias, the people who clean the buildings. There are any number of people who can be impacted if companies are impacted. And when you look at our tourism industry, a lot of people are awaiting tourism to pick back up.”

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