ATLANTA - Disney CEO Bob Iger said in an interview with Reuters on Wednesday that it would be “very difficult” for the company to keep filming in Georgia if the state’s recently passed hearbeat abortion law goes into effect.
The new law essentially bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy but makes exceptions for rape, incest and the mother’s health.
When asked if Disney would keep filming in Georgia if the bill is allowed to take effect, Iger said,“I rather doubt we will.”
“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,” Iger continued.
Adam Callaway lives in Fayetteville and knows all about the blockbuster movies shot at nearby Pinewood Studios. That’s where Disney and its subsidiary Marvel Studios filmed such Hollywood blockbusters as “Avengers: Endgame,” and “Black Panther.”
“You know, it could be a big blow to the economy out here,” Callaway said.
Brenda Schachle lives in Fayette County, as well.
She told Channel 2 political reporter Richard Elliot that she knows about Pinewood Studios' economic impact, but also thinks companies like Disney shouldn’t weigh in on Georgia politics.
“I think it’s unfortunate,” Schachle said. “I don’t think it’s quite fair that the film industry kind of holds people hostage as far as what their opinions matter -- more so than the citizens here in Georgia.”
Earlier this week, Netflix’s chief content officer, Ted Sarandos, told Elliot that Netflix may rethink its entire investment in Georgia because of the bill.
"We have many women working on productions in Georgia, whose rights, along with millions of others, will be severely restricted by this law. 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," Sarandos said in a statement.
Other Georgia corporations are reacting with more caution about the law.
UPS emailed Elliot a statement, saying:
“The question of abortion is deeply personal and there are many strongly held beliefs. We believe each employee has the right to express their own views, and for this reason, the company does not make a policy statement for, or against, the bill."
The Georgia chapter of the ACLU said it plans to file a lawsuit against the heartbeat law. Their lawsuit should be ready to file by the end of summer, around August or September.
The heartbeat law is set to take effect in January.
NOTE: ABC's parent company is Disney.
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