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Netflix to continue productions in Georgia until abortion ban goes into effect

The streaming video giant says it is waiting to see if the state’s controversial abortion law will be blocked by legal challenges, and will make its own decision accordingly

BY Ny Magee, The Grio

Various members of the entertainment industry are speaking out in wake of the passing of highly restrictive abortion bans in Georgia, Alabama, Ohio and multiple other states, and streaming content service Netflix is the latest to take a stand on the issue.

The company intends to continue to take advantage of the tax breaks that come with filming in Georgia but said it would re-examine its investment should the state’s abortion bill go into effect.

The company noted the “many women working on productions in Georgia, whose rights, along with millions of others, will be severely restricted by this law,” Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said in a statement. “It’s why we will work with the ACLU and others to fight it in court.”

Georgia offers content creators up to 30% in tax credits, an attractive incentive for the more than 450 film and television projects that were lured to the state last fiscal year, driving more than $4.5 billion in wages, CNBC reports. The state has hosted many major films and television shows over the years, including Marvel’s Black Panther and AMC’s long-running horror series The Walking Dead.

Actors including “Ozark” star Jason Bateman and Mark Duplass have pledged to boycott filming in Georgia “until they reverse this backwards legislation,” Duplass tweeted earlier this month. The Handmaid’s Tale director Reed Morano has also opted to move his Georgia-based project elsewhere, Paste Magazine reports.

Meanwhile, acclaimed filmmakers such as J.J. Abrams, Jordan Peele and Ron Howard have decided to keep their current projects in Georgia, but have vowed to donate their salaries and fees to the ACLU and local activist groups, the report states.

For many writers, producers and directors, however, a boycott of the state is not the best option.

“I hate that Hollywood has to come to this point of saying that if this rule doesn’t get changed, then we’re going to boycott your state, Druscilla Smith, who runs multiple production offices, told Variety. “All of us — everybody in Atlanta that’s in the film industry—can’t go back to California [and] work. We all can’t go to New York and work.

Gov. Brian Kemp signed Georgia’s “fetal heartbeat bill” into law on May 7, and it will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2020, unless it’s derailed by legal challenges.

This article originally appeared in The Grio.

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