Disney/Marvel Will Boycott Georgia if Governor Signs Anti-LGBT Law
Georgia State Legislature has passed a law that would allow businesses owned by people with religious convictions to deny employment and services to LGBT people and anyone else who "violates their sincerely held religious beliefs." The Walt Disney Co. and its subsidiary Marvel Studios has joined other businesses in threatening to stop doing business in the state if Governor Nathan Deal does not veto the law, which is currently awaiting his signature.
Generous tax incentives have made Georgia a popular destination for Hollywood studios including Marvel, which recently filmed Ant-Man and Captain America: Civil War at the Atlanta area's Pinewood Studio. Guardians of the Galaxy 2 is filming there right now. But all of that, and the money it brings to the local economy, is threatened if Deal doesn't stop the "Religious Liberty" law from going into effect.
According to Variety, a Disney spokesman had this to say:
Disney and Marvel are inclusive companies, and although we have had great experiences filming in Georgia, we will plan to take our business elsewhere should any legislation allowing discriminatory practices be signed into state law.
The Motion Picture Association of America has already spoken out against the law, saying “We are confident that Governor Deal will not allow a discriminatory bill to become law in Georgia."
The Human Rights Campaign, a major national LGBT rights organization, has encouraged studios to avoid future productions in Georgia if the law goes into effect. At a recent event in Los Angeles, HRC President Chad Griffin addressed the studios:
If this bill is signed into law, your employees, your contractors, all those working on your production are at risk of state-sponsored discrimination. That is wrong, it’s un-American. It’s an affront on all the values Hollywood prides itself on.
While we can and should continue to critique Marvel and other studios for the lack of inclusion of LGBT characters in their major franchises, it's good to see them taking a stand against laws that would impact real people. It's sad that the possibility of losing movie money might be all that can convince a state government to treat its own citizens with fairness, but we'll take what victories we can get.