UPDATED, 6:47 PM: As much of the entertainment industry focuses on the “religious freedom” law awaiting the governor’s signature in Georgia, a new fight might be brewing about 400 miles away. Filmmaker Rob Reiner said today that he won’t film anything in North Carolina unless that state trashed its brand-new law that would allow businesses and employers to discriminate based on sexual orientation. “Unless this hateful law is repealed and LGBT North Carolinians are treated with the equal dignity they deserve, I will not film another production in North Carolina,” Reiner said today. Read his full statement in the Human Rights Campaign’s tweet here:
PREVIOUSLY, 12:50 PM: North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signed a bill into law yesterday that is being widely criticized as anti-gay — legislation that has similar language as a Georgia bill that has drawn the ire of Hollywood and media companies for being discriminatory.
The new North Carolina law prevents employers and businesses from discriminating based on race, color, religion, age and “biological sex” but would allow discrimination based on sexual orientation. It also overturns an ordinance that was to go into effect next month in Charlotte that would have barred such practices and would have given those who identify as transgender the right to use public restrooms corresponding to their sexual identity.
Film production in North Carolina has already been hampered by the state’s 2014 decision to slash film incentives by two-thirds, and today’s passage of the new law might give some socially conscious filmmakers another reason to film elsewhere.
The Tar Heel State’s action comes as media companies from Disney and Sony to Time Warner and NBCUniversal have urged Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal to veto a bill on his desk that would give faith-based organizations and businesses the right to not hire or provide services to those who “violate such faith-based organization’s sincerely held religious belief.”
The Weinstein Company said it will pull its production of its Richard Pryor biopic if the Georgia law passes. Weinstein also recently obtained tax credits to film its Navy SEALs TV series Six in North Carolina. 20th Century Fox, which also joined the chorus protesting the Georgia bill, is currently producing Shots Fired in thestate. Time Warner’s TNT is also shooting its series Good Behavior there.