Production companies begin boycott of Georgia, after state passes new restrictive abortion law

Ben Arnold
The Walking Dead, which is shot in Georgia (Credit: AMC)

Three production companies have said that they will boycott making TV and films in Georgia, after the US state passed new law restricting abortion.

The so-called 'heartbeat bill' was signed into law by the state's Republican Governor Brian Kemp this week.

It will ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat has become detectable, which can be as early as six weeks, before some women will have discovered they are pregnant.

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Exceptions to the rule include if a termination would save the life of the mother, in cases of incest, and in cases of rape, but only if the woman has filed a police report to that effect.

David Simon, the creator of The Wire and The Deuce, has said that his company Blown Deadline, will pull Georgia from its list of potential locations.

He tweeted: “I can’t ask any female member of any film production with which I am involved to so marginalize themselves or compromise their inalienable authority over their own bodies. I must undertake production where the rights of all citizens remain intact.

“Can only speak for my production company. Our comparative assessments of locations for upcoming development will pull Georgia off the list until we can be assured the health options and civil liberties of our female colleagues are unimpaired.”

Mark Duplass, of Duplass Brothers Productions, also said his company will boycott the state.

“Don’t give your business to Georgia,” he tweeted. “Will you pledge with me not to film anything in Georgia until they reverse this backwards legislation?”

Killer Films, producers of movies like the recent Vox Lux, starring Natalie Portman and Jude Law, and Carol, with Kate Blanchett, also added its name to the list, saying it will 'no longer consider Georgia as a viable shooting location until this ridiculous law is overturned'.

The Writers Guild of America sent a letter to Kemp in March, when the legislation was first introduced, calling it 'a draconian, anti-choice measure'.

“This law would make Georgia an inhospitable place for those in the film and television industry to work, including our members,” it added.

Actress Alyssa Milano also wrote to Kemp in March, calling the bill 'unconstitutional', with the letter carrying signatures from the likes of Ben Stiller, Don Cheadle and Amy Schumer.

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The Motion Picture Association of America, which represents the major studios, has taken a more cautious approach, however, saying that it is 'monitoring developments'.

“Film and television production in Georgia supports more than 92,000 jobs and brings significant economic benefits to communities and families,” said MPAA senior VP communications Chris Ortman in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.

“It is important to remember that similar legislation has been attempted in other states, and has either been enjoined by the courts or is currently being challenged. The outcome in Georgia will also be determined through the legal process. We will continue to monitor developments.”

Shows like Stranger Things and The Walking Dead are both shot in Georgia, while large parts of Avengers: Endgame and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 were made at Pinewood in Atlanta, thanks to the state offering substantial tax breaks.