Georgia Governor Puts Hollywood Trip On Hold After “Heartbeat Bill” Signing

Brian Kemp
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp John Bazemore/AP/Shutterstock

Hollywood has done little so far to protest Georgia’s new anti-abortion law known as the “heartbeat” bill, which Gov. Brian Kemp signed into law last week. Still, a studio source has confirmed to Deadline Kemp has postponed an upcoming trip to Los Angeles where he was to meet with film and TV executives and tout Georgia’s lucrative tax credits which currently see 38 productions shooting in the Peach State.

Kemp’s press secretary Cody Hall said Tuesday that the governor will be touring Peach state production studios “to meet with employees and reaffirm his commitment to the film industry in our state.” Hall added that “We have confirmed a date to go out to LA this fall.”

Back in March, before Kemp signed into law HB 481, which bans most abortions in the state after the first six weeks of pregnancy, the WGA said that “This law would make Georgia an inhospitable place for those in the film and television industry to work, including our members. If the Georgia Legislature and Governor Kemp make HB 481 law, it is entirely possible that many of those in our industry will either want to leave the state or decide not to bring productions there. Such is the potential cost of a blatant attack on every woman’s right to control her own body.

“The cost would be most deeply felt by the residents of Georgia – including those who directly work in the film and television industry, and those who benefit from the many millions of dollars it pours into the local economy.”

Since then, however, the WGA has not responded to inquiries.

Several production companies including ones run by Christine Vachon and David Simon have said they won’t shoot projects there if the bill becomes law (it is slated to become law in 2020, but is expected to face legal challenges by the ACLU and others). JJ Abrams’ and Jordan Peele’s companies said they will shoot their HBO series Lovecraft Country in Georgia as planned but “will donate 100% of our respective episodic fees for this season to two organizations leading the charge against this draconian law: the ACLU of Georgia and [Stacey Abrams’] Fair Fight Georgia.”

According to the MPAA, which has said since the bill signing that it was monitoring the situation, the film and TV industry is responsible for more than 92,100 jobs and nearly $4.6 billion in total wages in Georgia. According to the governor’s office, film and TV production generated $2.7 billion in direct spending in the state during the fiscal year ended June 30.

The Georgia Film office says current projects filming in the state include Season 10 of AMC’s The Walking Dead and five shows for Netflix: The Liberator, Christmas on the Square, Holidate, Season 2 of Insatiable and Season 3 of Ozark.

Oprah Winfrey’s OWN is also taking advantage of the state’s tax incentives,and has two series currently filming there: Ambitions and Season 4 of Greenleaf. OWN and Will Packer’s Ready To Love! is currently casting Atlanta singles.

Oxygen, which is owned by NBCUniversal, has two reality shows filming there, Deadly Cult and Injustice with Nancy Grace.

HBO is filming The Outsider series there, and Bravo is filming Season 12 of The Real Housewives of Atlanta. Bravo is also filming Season 7 of Married to Medicine there.

Warner Bros is filming Conjuring 3 there, and Fox is shooting Fear Street. The Disney+ streaming service is filming Encore!, and BET is shooting two shows, Sunday Best and Season 1 of Bigger.

Variety first posted the news of Kemp’s postponement today.

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