Streaming giant Netflix will “rethink” its Georgia investments if the US state’s new anti-abortion bill—which criminalises terminating pregnancies after six weeks—becomes law.

Georgia is one of several conservative Southern states—like Alabama and Missouri—to drastically restrict or forbid abortions, even in cases of rape or incest.

Protesting this legislative change, producers, directors and actors have threatened to stop working in Georgia, hoping to pressure policy-makers into backtracking and protect the rights of female staff.

TV & film companies totally withdrawing could hurt Georgia’s economy: since giving filmmakers 30 percent tax rebates in 2008, the state has become a Hollywood powerhouse.

In 2018, motion picture projects generated $9.5 billion in total economic impact, produced almost $4.6 billion in wages, and accounted for 92,100 jobs in Georgia.

Local film industry workers, lawmakers and civil rights activists criticise boycott initiatives. They argue divestment hurts the victims of the very policies it condemns, while antagonising supporters into hardening their line.

Zak Cheney-Rice argues “black, brown, poor, and progressive residents” are caught between “cruel GOP governance and the disdain of their supposed allies in other states.”

Staying to fight such legislation “from within” spares local communities economic damage, but risks signalling public acceptance and impunity for the powerful.

How should influential cultural and economic actors use their clout to oppose policies?

 

Credit for this article's header image goes to Getty.