Walt Disney Co. and its associated Marvel Studios film unit managers will refuse to make future movies in Georgia if the state's Gov. Nathan Deal (R) signs a proposed, controversial law that critics contend would legalize anti-LGBTQ discrimination, a company spokesman said Wednesday. Deal has until May 3 to decide whether to sign it. If he does nothing, it will automatically become law without his signature.
For background regarding Georgia's religious exemptions' House Bill 757, being referenced by some as an "Indiana-style license to discriminate bill," which is on the desk of the governor to approve or veto, read The Gospel Herald article from Monday: Atlanta May Lose Super Bowl Bid Due to Georgia Religious Exemptions' Bill, Warns NFL
With generous tax incentives, Georgia has become a production hub, with Marvel currently shooting "Guardians of the Galaxy 2" at Pinewood Studios outside Atlanta. "Captain America: Civil War" shot there last summer.
"Disney and Marvel are inclusive companies, and although we have had great experiences filming in Georgia, we will plan to take our business elsewhere should any legislation allowing discriminatory practices be signed into state law," a Disney spokesman told The Hollywood Reporter.
Disney joins an increasing coalition of businesses that have condemned Georgia's HB 757, the so-called religious liberty bill that would prevent the government from taking action against organizations or people with "a sincerely held religious belief regarding lawful marriage between ... a man and a woman."
Opponents of the bill, especially Human Rights Campaign representatives, say it would lead the way to all types of discrimination against gay people. It could allow state-funded adoption agencies or drug counselors, for example, to turn away same-sex couples.
Businesses have derailed similar bills in other states and have been raising the pressure on Georgia, reports Huffington Post. For example, Salesforce, a cloud-computing company valued at $44 billion, vowed to pull its investments out of Atlanta if Deal signs the bill.
When "Captain America: Civil War" was filmed in Georgia last summer, it netted the state $60.2 million. Marvel made last year's "Ant-Man" in Georgia, a production that employed 35,000 residents and generated $106 million in spending in the state.
Deal said last month he won't sign any bill that promotes discrimination to protect people of faith, but he's been mum on his plans for HB 757.
Viacom as well as the AMC Networks, which films "The Walking Dead" in the state, has called on Gov. Nathan Deal to veto the legislation.
Time Warner on Thursday morning (March 24) also urged Deal to veto the bill.
"We strongly oppose the discriminatory language and intent of Georgia's pending religious liberty bill, which clearly violates the values and principles of inclusion and the ability of all people to live and work free from discrimination," reads the company's statement. "Georgia bill HB 757 is in contradiction ... to the values we hold dear, and to the type of workplace we guarantee to our employees. We urge Governor Deal to exercise his veto."
Rapper and actor Ice Cube also took a stand against HB 757 on Wednesday. "Any kind of discrimination in America, or anywhere in the world, is just an old, antiquated practice," he said during a TV interview.
"It's really about inclusion in this new world."