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Entertainment Industry Leaders to Georgia Gov: Veto HB757 or We will Abandon Production in State

by Stephen Peters March 24, 2016

Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, sent a letter to Georgia Governor Nathan Deal on behalf of dozens of entertainment industry leaders who will abandon production in the state if he signs the anti-LGBT H.B. 757 into law. The letter follows a call to action from HRC President Chad Griffin, who delivered a speech in Los Angeles last Saturday urging Hollywood executives to stand up to Governor Deal and speak out against the dangerous and discriminatory legislation that could become law. H.B. 757 could weaken local non-discrimination protections and allow businesses to discriminate and deny service to LGBT people, in addition to explicitly allowing discrimination by taxpayer-funded religious organizations. Later today, additional studios and entertainment leaders are expected to announce they will abandon operations in Georgia if H.B. 757 is enacted.

A copy of the letter and signers can be found here and below.

“We applaud the dozens of leaders from the entertainment industry who are taking a stand today against discrimination, intolerance, and bigotry,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “The entertainment industry has a huge economic footprint in Georgia, and the choice for Governor Deal could not be any clearer: he must veto this outrageous legislation before it inflicts tremendous damage on the state. This outrageous and discriminatory legislation is an affront to the values we all share.”

This past Saturday night at the Los Angeles HRC Gala, HRC President Chad Griffin addressed nearly 1,000 supporters and leaders in the entertainment industry and called on Hollywood to stop productions in Georgia if Gov. Nathan Deal doesn’t veto the new Indiana-style "license to discriminate" bill passed by the state legislature last week. According to the State of Georgia, which offers major tax incentives for entertainment companies to film in the state, at least 248 film and television productions were shot in Georgia during the state’s 2015 fiscal year. This resulted in at least $1.7 billion in direct spending as well as more than 100 new businesses relocating to or expanding in Georgia to support these activities.

In addition to this letter from the entertainment industry, sports teams, major corporations, and countless businesses have spoken out against the Georgia bill, including: Apple, the Atlanta Braves, the Atlanta Falcons, the Atlanta Hawks, Dell, the Dow Chemical Company, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, Hilton, Intel, Intercontinental Hotels, Live Nation Entertainment, Marriott, MailChimp, the Metro Atlanta Chamber, Microsoft, the NFL, Paypal, Salesforce, Square, Turner, Twitter, Unilever, Virgin, Yelp, and many others.

HRC and Georgia Unites have also delivered more than 75,000 email petitions to Gov. Deal urging him to veto the measure which could undermine local non-discrimination ordinances that protect LGBT people, permit hospitals to refuse to provide medically necessary care, or even allow a taxpayer-funded service provider to discriminate by denying a job because of the applicant's religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

The full letter to Governor Deal and signatures follow:

“Dear Governor Deal,

As leaders in the entertainment industry, we have deep concerns about H.B. 757, which would sanction discrimination against LGBT people and others in Georgia.

As you know, Atlanta is often referred to as the Hollywood of the South. During the last fiscal year, at least 248 films and television productions were shot in Georgia, adding at least $1.7 billion in direct spending to the state's economy. Additionally, the entertainment industry helped to bring more than 100 businesses to Georgia through relocation or expansion in the past fiscal year. Only two states -- California and New York -- have a larger entertainment industry footprint and both have statewide non-discrimination protections on the books. Unfortunately, Georgia not only lacks such protections, but could soon move from a bad situation to worse with H.B. 757.

We pride ourselves on running inclusive companies, and while we have enjoyed a positive partnership on productions in Georgia, we will plan to take our business elsewhere if any legislation sanctioning discrimination is signed into state law.

We urge you to veto H.B. 757 and send a strong message that Georgia will not tolerate discrimination against citizens, employees and visitors to the state.

Thank you in advance for your consideration of this urgent issue.

Ali Adler, Writer and Producer
Greg Berlanti, Writer and Producer
Matt Bomer, Actor & Simon Halls, Publicist
Dustin Lance Black, Screenwriter and Filmmaker
Bradley Bredeweg, Executive Producer and Showrunner
Kristin Chenoweth, Actress and Singer
Diablo Cody, Writer, Producer and Director
Bruce Cohen, Producer
Lee Daniels, Producer and Director
Lucy Fisher, Co-Head, Red Wagon Entertainment
Dana Fox, Writer and Producer
John Goldwyn, Producer
James Gunn, Writer and Director
Anne Hathaway, Actress
Alan Hergott, Entertainment Attorney
Kevin Huvane, Talent Agent
Nina Jacobson, Producer
Dan Jinks, Producer
Kathy Kennedy, Producer
Zoe Kravitz, Actress
Bryan Lourd, Talent Agent
Seth MacFarlane, Writer, Producer and Director
Laurence Mark, Producer
Frank Marshall, Producer and Director
Brendan Mason, Producer
Neil Meron, Producer
Julianne Moore, Actress
Ryan Murphy, Producer
Max Mutchnick, Producer
Peter Paige, Executive Producer and Showrunner
Rob Reiner, Actor, Director and Producer                 
Sarah Schechter, Producer
Adam Shankman, Director and Producer
Aaron Sorkin, Writer
Marisa Tomei, Actress
Gus Van Sant, Producer and Director
Bob Weinstein, Producer
Harvey Weinstein, Producer and Film Studio Executive
Doug Wick, Co-Head, Red Wagon Entertainment
Craig Zadan, Producer and Director”

Stephen Peters
Stephen Peters


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