Governor Gavin Newsom loves a state boycott. He frequently calls for boycotting a state if legislation is passed that does not meet his approval. His latest target is Georgia. Newsom is calling for a boycott of Georgia by the entertainment industry. The workers in Georgia aren’t very happy about that.
Democrat governors are pitching their states as an alternative home for businesses currently with deep ties to states like Georgia. They are capitalizing on liberal outrage over the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v Wade and pro-life legislation. In June, for example, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy wrote to more than 50 companies in states with pro-life laws, including Georgia, Florida, Missouri, Ohio, and Texas. In June, the Atlanta Constitution-Journal got a copy of the letter sent by Murphy to seven name brand companies in Georgia. He encouraged the companies to relocate to New Jersey.
“The overturning of a woman’s right to bodily autonomy — and the chilling effect this decision will have on your ability to attract and retain top female talent by being located in a state which has refused to recognize women’s reproductive freedom — cannot be ignored,” he wrote in one letter dated May 25 that was obtained this week by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
At the time of Murphy’s letter, Gov. Brian Kemp’s office was not aware of New Jersey’s outreach until contacted by the AJC. The governor’s office responded by citing three companies that recently moved global or U.S. headquarters to Georgia from New Jersey.
“We’re happy to engage in this comparison of Georgia’s No. 1 business environment vs. New Jersey’s,” Kemp spokeswoman Katie Byrd said.
“A sitting governor wouldn’t be spending his time making this type of desperate outreach if business was also booming in his state. He’d be celebrating the announcement of multibillion dollar projects and thousands of new jobs with quality companies — like Gov. Kemp has had the privilege of doing several times already this year.”
Governor Newsom objects to abortion laws in Georgia, as well as gun laws. He calls for a boycott of the state by the entertainment industry. Georgia is the third largest state for film and television production, after California and New York. Georgia provides lucrative tax credits, much more than California offers. Last week Governor Kemp’s office announced that film productions spent a record-breaking $4.4 billion in Georgia during the last fiscal year. That’s a lot of jobs being created in Georgia. As you might imagine, entertainment industry workers are not pleased with Newsom butting in to Georgia’s business and threatening their jobs. They point out that boycotts won’t do much of anything except punish working Georgians. Many of the workers also don’t agree with conservative legislation passed and signed into law but businesses leaving the state in protest blames workers.
Jaime Rosegren, an on-set dresser in Georgia, said she and many of her colleagues staunchly disagree with the state’s anti-abortion and gun laws. However, she said calls to leave Georgia will not only lead to little action from studios — it’s counterproductive and unfairly blames workers for circumstances out of their control.
“It’s putting a target on our backs to purposefully take work away for something that we have fought very hard against,” Rosegren told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “It’s very petty and short-sighted.”
Stacey Abrams is running against Brian Kemp in the gubernatorial race. She is trying to use the governors’ outreach to her advantage. She says Kemp is bad for Georgia businesses. That’s pretty rich coming from her. She called for a boycott of the MLB 2021 All-Star Game in Atlanta. It was moved to Colorado that year in protest of Georgia’s new election integrity legislation. About the same time, the movie “Emancipation” pulled out of Georgia. Abrams later denied she had ever called for a boycott by the MLB when she began receiving blowback for the jobs lost by local vendors who depended on that source of income. Millions of dollars were lost and so were jobs. For what? The laws are still in place.
Hollywood has been quiet about boycotting Georgia since the Supreme Court’s ruling. But there has been some economic fallout from Georgia’s pro-life laws and gun laws. Last week an annual music festival, Music Midtown, announced it was canceling this year’s festival. Organizers declined to comment but it is reported that the cancellation is due to the fact that Georgia state law prohibits festival organizers from banning guns in public parks. Abrams blames Kemp.
Abrams said in an interview that Kemp is eager to blame Democrats for high inflation but won’t acknowledge that conservative policies at home can cost Georgia investment.
”He will take credit for things that go well, but he takes no responsibility when there are crises,” she said. “He takes no responsibility when there are consequences and when there’s fallout. One of the consequences is that a neighbor state feels that they can invite Music Midtown, something that is grown here organic to Georgia, and try to take it to North Carolina.”
Considering the role Abrams played in the relocation of the All-Star Game, and her subsequent flip flop, she has some nerve now calling out Kemp for not taking responsibility.
Democrats in North Carolina and Nevada jumped in and invited the music festival to come to their states.
— Governor Roy Cooper (@NC_Governor) August 2, 2022
— Steve Sisolak (@SteveSisolak) August 3, 2022
Kemp isn’t listening to out-of-state Democrats anyway.
“I’m not really worried about what other governors are doing,” he said. “They tried to tell us what to do during the whole pandemic. I didn’t listen to them then, and I’m not going to listen to them now. I’m listening to hardworking Georgians and doing what they want.”
Newsom took out a full page ad in Variety, an industry magazine, last week that calls on studios to stop filming in Georgia.
“Hollywood: Your values, Your choice.”
“California is the best place in America to create. For 100 years, we’ve been the home for storytelling and storytellers. Together we built a creative community that includes unrivaled cast, crews, craftspeople, infrastructure, and technology. Robust tax credits and other incentives. The best culture,” the ad says. “Most importantly, we share your values. So now, it’s time to choose.”
“As other states roll back people’s rights, California will continue to protect fundamental freedoms for all and welcome businesses that stand up for their employees,” Newsom said in a statement. “Extending this program will help ensure California’s world-renowned entertainment industry continues to drive economic growth with good jobs and a diverse, inclusive workforce.”
Governor Newsom may want to ask himself why four of the top six highest domestic-grossing movies were filmed in Georgia. Businesses are leaving California and moving to red states with business-friendly environments. And, when the November general election rolls around, Stacey Abrams will still not be the governor of Georgia.