Disney may quit Georgia over abortion law


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Endgame has taken more than $2.7bn globally

Bob Iger, the CEO of Disney says Georgia’s controversial new anti-abortion law would make it “difficult” for the company to keep filming there.

Blockbusters like Black Panther and Avengers: Endgame, were recently shot in the state, due to its generous tax breaks for film productions.

However, Iger said “many people who work for us will not want to work there” should the law go into effect.

“We will have to heed their wishes,” he told Reuters.

Earlier this month, Georgia’s Republican Governor Brian Kemp signed the so-called “heartbeat bill,” which would ban abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy.

It is scheduled to come into effect on 1 January, but is expected to face challenges in the courts.

The legislation has caused a furious backlash in Hollywood and led to calls for a boycott.

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Jason Bateman and Kristen Wiig have both condemned the new law, which effectively bans abortion

Earlier this week, Netflix said it would “rethink” its operations there; while stars including Amy Schumer, Ben Stiller, Christina Applegate, Laverne Cox and Alec Baldwin wrote to the governor saying they would “do everything in our power to move our industry to a safer state for women”.

Comedy actress and writer Kristen Wiig also confirmed to CNN that her new comedy had pulled out of filming in the state while the executive producers of a new Amazon show The Power said it was no longer scouting for filming locations in Georgia because of the controversial bill.

Actor Jason Bateman, who stars in the Netflix show Ozark and in HBO’s The Outsider, which are both currently filming in Georgia, told The Hollywood Reporter: “I will not work in Georgia, or any other state, that is so disgracefully at odds with women’s rights”.

“Right now we are watching it very carefully,” said Bob Iger, adding he didn’t “see how it’s practical for us to continue to shoot there.”

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Georgia was used as a location for Black Panther

Disney’s prospective withdrawal would be a huge blow to the state. Recently, Disney’s Marvel Studios filmed portions of both Black Panther and Avengers: Endgame in Georgia.

Georgia – which offers up to 30% tax breaks has become a magnet for film and TV productions, employing more than 90,000 people.

Website Film LA analysed a sample of the 100 top-grossing feature films released at the US box office in 2017 and found Georgia was tied for second place as a location with the UK, each with 15 films in the top 100 in 2017. California was the most-used location.

Louisiana abortion law

Recent productions based in the state include: Godzilla: King of Monsters, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame, Black Panther, Pitch Perfect 3, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Stranger Things, Ozark and The Walking Dead.

Georgia is one of several US states to pass the strict law barring abortion beyond the sixth week of pregnancy, the latest being Louisiana.

The new law prevents abortions in almost all circumstances once an embryonic heartbeat can be detected.

Critics have pointed at what they see as an orchestrated challenge to a decades-old US Supreme Court ruling that protected a woman’s right to choose an abortion.

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