While Hollywood executives are busy jumping on the bandwagon about pulling up stakes in Georgia and taking their productions elsewhere, Stacey Abrams wants them to take a breath. She’s going to Los Angeles to plead her case to entertainment business decision-makers on June 11. Abrams is hoping to sway them to stay in Georgia, keep the jobs in place, and there’s a hashtag for it.
Abrams and her allies have pushed a “#StayAndFight” movement that encourages Hollywood leaders to donate to candidates and groups challenging the law instead of boycotting the state. The industry employs more than 90,000 people in businesses that range from set design to catering.
The invitation for a meeting was extended by former CBS chairwoman Nina Tassler. The meeting will discuss the “reality that employees in the state may not have full access to healthcare or the freedom to make decisions about their futures and their families.” Abrams is bringing along Ilyse Hogue, the president NARAL Pro-Choice America to help make the case to stay in Georgia.
Governor Brian Kemp postponed his annual trip to Los Angeles to promote Georgia’s film and television industry so that Abrams can go first. Abrams’ message is for the left to continue to fight for abortion on demand up until the moment of birth, but just keep the jobs in Georgia and donate money to the organizations fighting the good fight. SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris sounds as though she is on the same page.
In addition to producers and production companies, SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris wrote in a personal Instagram post on Tuesday, “As a woman and a person of conscience who has always used my voice to champion the rights of others, I am personally outraged at the all-out assault on women’s health and safety by the ‘fetal heartbeat’ laws sweeping across our country.” She added, “I will do everything in my power to fight this egregious attack — starting with announcing my support for several important organizations fighting to safeguard women’s health and rights” and encouraged followers to donate to the ACLU, Access Reproductive Care and Planned Parenthood.
More than 90,000 people are employed by film and television production companies in Georgia, not only actors but all the folks behind the cameras and service industry employees. Everyone from set designers to catering crews will feel the pinch if the jobs go away. On May 31 an article was published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution criticizing Governor Kemp for his alleged inaction to save Georgia jobs. One reason cited was that Abrams may challenge Kemp in a rematch of their race for the Office of Governor.
“We are the party of freedom and opportunity,” he said at the Georgia GOP convention in Savannah. “We value and protect innocent life — even though that makes C-list celebrities squawk.
”There are other reasons for the silence. Any public misstep could risk throwing gas on the fire. And his allies note that most of the film industry titans supported Stacey Abrams anyways.
She wants to “fund the defeat of these politicians and their horrible behavior.” She wants Hollywood money to do that. She calls Georgia’s position a unique one for the fight.
Market Warnings: Major studios haven’t boycotted GA yet, but laid out conditions for departure. GA isn’t the only state w film tax credit, but we’re the major one potentially hostile to women. Want to change market conditions? 2020 state elections are a good start. #Consequences
— Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams) May 31, 2019
We’ll know soon enough if Abrams and her NARAL cohort are successful after the June 11 meeting. Meanwhile, the governor points to the fact that many conservatives aren’t real thrilled with the tax incentives offered to Hollywood to come to Georgia in the first place.
“If there are some in the entertainment industry who don’t want to invest here, there are others who will,” he told The Savannah Morning News after a recent speech. “There are a fair amount of Georgia citizens who disagree with us giving them money — through the tax incentives — to begin with.”
I think Governor Kemp is correct in his thinking here. Others will step in and fill the vacuum if some carry out their threats and leave the state. They will take advantage of the tax breaks and incentives offered by the State of Georgia. The entertainment industry is a business, after all, and a healthy bottom line creates the jobs that Abrams and Kemp want to preserve.