Hollywood Ban On Georgia Met With #StayAndFightGeorgia Initiative

Since Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed a bill banning abortions after the detection of a heartbeat, Hollywood production companies and celebrities alike have been pulling the plug on Georgia-based projects to the dismay of film production crews in Georgia. According to BuzzFeed News, this dismay has elicited a response campaign called “Stay and Fight Georgia,” led by 29-year-old camera assistant Callie Moore.


“None Of Us Voted For This”

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Instead of punishing the politicians who engineered the bill, Georgia film crews argue that Hollywood’s ban on their state will only negatively affect the crew members who will be forced to deal with monetary setbacks given the premeditated lack of job opportunities. A 38-year-old Atlanta-based key grip lamented to Buzzfeed News, “None of us voted for this, and we shouldn’t have to suffer because of what the politicians decided. This only hurts us and it certainly doesn’t solve anything. Two wrongs don’t make a right.” Another resident of Georgia working as a stand-in and body double in Atlanta, 38, told BuzzFeed reporters that, while she “understands the anger coming from Hollywood,” she believes that it is misplaced “in trying to take jobs and livelihoods from people that they work with,” the film crews of Georgia feeling personally affronted by those in Hollywood whom they’ve worked closely with. She continued, “That’s kind of mind-blowing to me, that people are willing to look somebody in the eye one minute and then turn around and try and yank everything away from them.”


Rise Of The Film Industry In Georgia

Due to tax incentives, the film industry in Georgia has grown quickly and provides more than just local film crews with paid labor, but also a large portion of the state’s revenue. This has prompted many production companies and celebrities to conclude that banning film production in Georgia is the most effective solution. However, Georgia’s film crews do not agree with this conclusion and insist that the better route of resistance is to stand with Georgia and fight the abortion bill without abandoning Georgia’s burgeoned film industry. BuzzFeed News got in touch with six people who are currently employed in film production in Atlanta, Georgia, all of whom “feared a Hollywood boycott could mean they won’t be able to pay their bills or afford their housing or health insurance.” Although many of those with whom BuzzFeed News got in touch with preferred to remain anonymous as they feared workplace repercussions, a 39-year-old man working as a best boy grip told the news source that he believes the boycott is “ultimately hurting more people than it is going to do any justice.” He continued, “It’s not going to affect the politicians and the actors. They’re still going to keep going to work in other places like they always have. But with us here, it’s going to destroy us.”


The Boycott Threat

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While some companies have only threatened to pull the plug on their involvement with Georgia’s film industry, others, such as actor Ed Helm’s production company, Pacific Electric Picture Co, have already begun actively boycotting the state. Threats from companies like Disney and Netflix are dependent on whether or not the bill goes into effect as it is currently being battled by the American Civil Liberties Union, which seeks to block the bill from becoming effective in January based on its lack of constitutionality. Along with Disney and Netflix, AMC, CBS, Showtime, NBC Universal, Sony, and Warner Media have all stated that their intention is to reevaluate their presence in Georgia if and when the abortion law goes into effect. According to Buzzfeed, when Disney CEO Bob Iger was asked about the boycott he stated that his belief was, if the bill is passed, many of those who currently work for Disney will no longer be amenable to working in Georgia, leaving Disney to “heed their wishes in that regard.” 


The Boycott In Action

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Other individuals besides Ed Helms who have put into action their words of resistance include comedic actress Kristen Wiig who has prevented her comedy, Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar, from shooting in Georgia. Director Reed Morano joined Wiig and renounced her original intention to shoot her upcoming project with Amazon Studios, The Power, in Georgia. Regardless of the fact that the bill has not yet been put into action, boycotting Georgia is an act ostensibly based on the hope that pressure from a lack of Hollywood money feeding the state will force it to rethink the abortion bill before it goes into effect. Morano said in an interview with Time magazine of her decision to pull production from Georgia, “We had no problem stopping the entire process instantly. There is no way we would ever bring our money to that state by shooting there.” While seemingly beholden to Netflix and its delayed ban awaiting the bill’s solidification of effect, Alyssa Milano, who’s currently shooting the Netflix original Insatiable in Atlanta, has been public about her desire to switch filming locations for the show’s potential third season. In a previous interview with Buzzfeed News, she stated, “I have to be there [Atlanta] for another month but you can be sure I will fight tooth and nail to move Insatiable to a state that will protect our rights. And if it doesn’t move to another state, I will not be able to return to the show if we are blessed with a third season.”


#StayAndFightGeorgia

In response to these actions from Hollywood, 29-year-old Moore has rallied women among whom she has worked on the upcoming Starz show, P-Valley, to participate in an initiative known as “Stay and Fight Georgia.” Rather than ditch the employees of Georgia, Moore wants Hollywood to stand by the state and fight. Moore has doled out signs and stickers with the phrase “#StayAndFightGeorgia” to various film sets for crew members to take pictures with to disseminate online. Money is also being raised through GoFundMe that will be donated to the American Civil Liberties Union in Georgia. Moore’s actions are conscionable given the number of jobs that are on the line as, according to Georgia’s previous gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, a Hollywood ban on production in Georgia means not only lost jobs for film crew employees, but also “lost jobs for carpenters, hair dressers, food workers & 100s of small businesses grown right here.” Moore told Buzzfeed News, “I generally don’t agree that boycotting is the right call to make a real difference here. I think the film industry brings so much to the state of Georgia, economically and diversity-wise, and I think it does so much good for the state. The least we can do is fight back and try to keep it here.” To make the real difference Moore is referring to, Moore believes that the film industry must stay active in Georgia and “fight alongside every woman that lives here.” Janice Min – a 36-year-old camera operator who was based in Los Angeles but relocated to Georgia to work on Starz’s P-Valley – agrees with Moore, stating that she believes a ban will only leave Georgia “in a more dire situation.” The crew of P-Valley has thrown their support behind Moore with director Tamra Davis posting a photo with Moore’s “#StayAndFightGeorgia” sign that she uploaded to her Instagram. Moreover, the producers of P-Valley, Cherin Entertainment, has promised to continue filming in Georgia while simultaneously donating money to organizations working to fight the abortion bill. Jordan Peele’s Monkeypaw Productions and J.J. Abrams’s Bad Robot Productions have also made these same promises.


But which is the better tactic?

To stay with Georgia and fight from within? Or to try and elicit change from without by starving the state of its film revenue?

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