Published in MSN on May 30th, 2019, By Brian Welk
Sony Pictures has followed suit with WarnerMedia, Disney and Netflix among others in saying the company will monitor the outcome of whether the Georgia “Heartbeat Law” will be enacted as they consider whether to continue filming in the state.
“As the MPAA has noted, the outcome of the Georgia ‘Heartbeat Law,’ and similar proposed legislation in other states, will be determined through the legal process,” a Sony Pictures Entertainment spokesperson told TheWrap. “We will continue to monitor that process in close consultation with our filmmakers and television showrunners, talent and other stakeholders as we consider our future production options.”
Earlier this month, Gov. Brian Kemp signed a bill that aims to outlaw abortion in Georgia after the detection of a fetal heartbeat. The bill is expected to take effect on Jan. 1, 2020, pending any legal challenges.
On Thursday, WarnerMedia said it will “reconsider” filming in the state if the new law holds up.
“We operate and produce work in many states and within several countries at any given time and while that doesn’t mean we agree with every position taken by a state or country and their leaders, we do respect due process,” Warner Media said in a statement on Thursday. “We will watch the situation closely and if the new law holds we will reconsider Georgia as the home to any new productions. As is always the case, we will work closely with our production partners and talent to determine how and where to shoot any given project.”
NBCUniversal said that the law in Georgia — and any other “heartbeat bills” — will “strongly impact” its decision-making process on where they choose to film.
“We fully expect that the heartbeat bills and similar laws in various states will face serious legal challenges and will not go into effect while the process proceeds in court. If any of these laws are upheld, it would strongly impact our decision-making on where we produce our content in the future,” NBCUniversal said in a statement Thursday.
Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger said in an interview with Reuters on Wednesday that the company would find it “very difficult” to keep its productions in the state.
“I rather doubt we will [stay],” Iger said. “I think many people who work for us will not want to work there, and we will have to heed their wishes in that regard. Right now we are watching it very carefully.”
“I don’t see how it’s practical for us to continue to shoot there,” Iger continued.
Earlier this week, Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said the company — which also has significant investment in Georgia — would work with those groups bringing legal challenges to the law and would “rethink” filming in the state should the law take effect.
“We have many women working on productions in Georgia, whose rights, along with millions of others, will be severely restricted by this law,” Sarandos said. “It’s why we will work with the ACLU and others to fight it in court. Given the legislation has not yet been implemented, we’ll continue to film there — while also supporting partners and artists who choose not to. Should it ever come into effect, we’d rethink our entire investment in Georgia.”
AMC, which films its hit series “The Walking Dead” in the Atlanta area, will “reevaluate” its activity in the state.
AMC is currently in production on the tenth season of “Walking Dead” in the Atlanta area.