Netflix jumps into Georgia state fight over abortion law

Entertainment giant weighs options should a new anti-abortion law take effect next year in the US state of Georgia.

    Netflix's chief content officer: Should the proposed law ever come into effect, 'we'd rethink our entire investment in Georgia'  [Kim Hong-Ji Reuters]
    Netflix's chief content officer: Should the proposed law ever come into effect, 'we'd rethink our entire investment in Georgia' [Kim Hong-Ji Reuters]

    Popular online video streaming giant Netflix has announced it would "rethink" its film and television production investments in the US state of Georgia if a new law severely restricting abortion in the state is implemented. But for now, the company will continue to work there.

    Netflix, which films shows like crime drama "Ozark" and supernatural thriller "Stranger Things" in the state, said it would work with groups fighting the Georgia law through the US courts.

    It is the first major Hollywood producer to publicly comment on calls by some for an industry boycott of Georgia, a hub for film and television production.

    "We have many women working on productions in Georgia, whose rights, along with millions of others, will be severely restricted by this law," Netflix's chief content officer, Ted Sarandos, said in a statement.

    "It's why we will work with the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) 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," Sarandos added.

    Georgia's Republican governor on May 7 signed into law a ban on abortion after a doctor can detect a fetal heartbeat - about six weeks into a pregnancy, before many women even know they have become pregnant.

    The law is due to take effect on January 1.

    Georgia is one of eight states to pass anti-abortion legislation this year for the purpose of inducing the US Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark case that established a woman's right to terminate her pregnancy.

    Some Hollywood figures have called for a boycott of Georgia while others have said they will donate money to local groups fighting the abortion law. Most Hollywood studios and platforms have not commented on their plans.

    According to the Georgia film office website as of Monday, 38 movies or TV shows are currently in production in the state. Past productions include the TV series "The Walking Dead."

    The makers of an upcoming comedy starring Kristen Wiig decided last week not to shoot in Georgia in the light of the abortion law.

    Work on "Ozark" season three began in the state earlier this month. Star and executive producer Jason Bateman said that if the abortion bill became law he would not work in Georgia "or any other state that is so disgracefully at odds with women's rights."

    SOURCE: Reuters news agency