Over the past decade, Georgia has become one of the most lucrative filming locations in the entire world, generating billions of dollars for the entertainment industry with its enticing film incentive program—which awards up to 30 percent of production costs back in transferable tax credits, which can then be sold on the free market.
But that gravy train could very well be derailed—by a fleet of prominent celebrities—should the state of Georgia decide to pass a controversial bill that would ban abortions after the detection of a fetal heartbeat.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that a who’s who of more than 40 celebrities—including fan favorites Gabrielle Union, Don Cheadle, Orange is the New Black’s Uzo Aduba, and Marlon’s Essence Atkins—have signed a letter not only denouncing H.B. 481, but promising to urge TV and film production companies to take their business elsewhere.
While TV and film production companies themselves have remained mum on the subject, the Writers Guild of America and numerous actors have been very public in their opposition.
“We’ve always found [Georgia] to be populated with friendly and caring people,” says the letter, written by Alyssa Milano. “We’ve found the hotels in which we stay and restaurants in which we dine while filming there to be comfortable and of a high quality. We’ve been glad to bring billions of dollars in revenue to support Georgia’s schools, parks, and communities. But we cannot in good conscience continue to recommend our industry remain in Georgia if H.B. 481 becomes law.”
“This dangerous and deeply-flawed bill mimics many others which have already been deemed unconstitutional,” the letter reads. “We can’t imagine being elected officials who had to say to their constituents ‘I enacted a law that was so evil, it chased billions of dollars out of our state’s economy.’”
This form of activism within the state has a precedent—as production studios and sports franchises threatened to bolt from the state in 2016 over a new law that legalized discrimination against the LGBTQ community under the guise of religion. The bill was then subsequently vetoed by then Gov. Nathan Deal.
“We want to stay in Georgia,” the letter concludes. “We want to continue to support the wonderful people, businesses, and communities we have come to love in the Peachtree State. But we will not do so silently, and we will do everything in our power to move our industry to a safer state for women if H.B. 481 becomes law.”
Other celebrities of note who’ve signed the letter include Alec Baldwin, Amy Schumer, Ben Stiller, Mia Farrow, Rosie O’Donnell, Patton Oswalt, Sarah Silverman, Christina Applegate, and Sean Penn.