Disney may stop filming movies and TV shows in Georgia if the state’s new controversial abortion law goes into effect, CEO Bob Iger told Reuters today.
Iger was asked by Reuters about the company’s plans to continue filming some of its biggest movies in Georgia following a ban on abortion that would prevent women from having the procedure done as soon as a doctor can find a fetus’ heartbeat. It’s a controversial ban — especially considering detecting a heartbeat can occur as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, when women may not even know they are pregnant.
Losing Disney would be a huge blow to Georgia’s annual tax credit revenue it receives from allowing studios to film in different locations. Disney is one of the most prominent of those studios, having filmed some of its biggest Marvel films in Georgia, including Black Panther, Captain America: Civil War, and Avengers: Infinity War. Those productions helped Georgia bring in close to $2.7 billion in direct spending in the state in 2017, according to the Governor’s office.
That annual windfall may soon begin to drop dramatically. Iger told Reuters it “would be very difficult” to carry on filming in Georgia, adding that he didn’t think they would continue if the law goes into effect on January 1, 2020. “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,” Iger told Reuters. “Right now we are watching it very carefully.”
Disney isn’t the only company threatening to stop filming in Georgia if the law passes. Netflix’s chief content officer, Ted Sarandos, said the company would “rethink our entire investment in Georgia” if the law actually takes effect.
“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 in a statement to Variety earlier this week. “Given the legislation has not yet been implemented, we’ll continue to film there, while also supporting partners and artists who choose not to.”
Both companies spend quite a bit of time in Georgia. Netflix shoots Stranger Things and movies like the upcoming Holidate in the state, while Disney also plans to use Georgia for some Disney+ shows like Kristin Bell’s new series Encore.