Disney will shut down its film production operations in Georgia if Governor Nathan Deal does not veto an upcoming “religious liberty” bill, which has been widely criticized as legalized discrimination against the LGBT community.
Disney said it would move its current and planned film productions in the state to another location “should any legislation allowing discriminatory practices be signed into state law,” according to Variety .
State tax breaks have made Georgia an enticing spot for film and TV productions, including Disney and its subsidiary, Marvel Studios. Marvel filmed Captain America: Civil War there last summer, and is currently filming Guardians of the Galaxy 2 at a studio outside Atlanta.
House Bill 757, which Georgia’s state legislature passed last week, would allow religious organizations to refuse service or employment to anyone if doing so “threatens their sincere religious belief.” The bill also specifically protects religious officials from prosecution for refusing to perform same-sex marriages.
Since the bill was passed, many companies have announced they would cease or reduce their operations in Georgia, including the NFL, which announced it may refuse to hold the Super Bowl in Atlanta if the bill passes.
The Motion Picture Association of America also expressed concern over the bill, which a spokesman called “discriminatory,” but also expressed confidence that it would not be allowed to pass. Nonetheless, the Human Rights Campaign called for studios to cease all production in Georgia should the bill pass.
“You have the influence and the opportunity to not only defeat this bill, but to send a message that there are consequences to passing dangerous and hateful laws like this,” said HRC president Chad Griffin. “And so tonight, we’re asking you to join us as we urge TV and film studios, directors and producers, to commit to locating no further productions in the state of Georgia if this bill becomes law.”