Connecticut is making pitches to three media companies to relocate their film and television productions to the Nutmeg State as they consider exiting Georgia after it passed one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the nation.
Georgia’s “fetal heartbeat” bill makes it illegal to have an abortion once a heartbeat is detected in the womb, which happens around six weeks.
In letters to the heads of Netflix, Disney and AMC, Gov. Ned Lamont and Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz wrote that they support their opposition to laws that curb women’s reproductive rights, while also noting that Connecticut has “nationally competitive production tax incentives” that they believe are good fits for such media companies.
“States that are adopting legislation that severely curb women’s reproductive rights are sending shockwaves across the country, including in the business community, and rightly so,” Lamont said. “Here in Connecticut, I am particularly proud that support for protecting the ability of women to make informed decisions about their health and bodies is not only strong, but it is also bipartisan.
“We will continue to do everything in our power to protect women’s health care rights, and stand in solidarity with businesses who feel the same,” he continued. “We wholeheartedly agree with and support the position of these companies and urge them to consider Connecticut.”
The letters – addressed to Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos, Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger and AMC President and CEO Josh Sapan – also note the growing number of film, TV, and digital media companies that have relocated and expanded in Connecticut over the last 15 years, including Blue Sky Studios, NBCUniversal (sports group and syndicated television), CBS Sports, ITVAmerica, ESPN, WWE and A&E.
The governor and lieutenant governor also encouraged the media firms to contact Connecticut Office of Film, TV & Digital Media Director George Norfleet.
Although the companies have yet to publicly comment on Connecticut’s invitations, Iger told Reuters last week that it would be “very difficult” for Disney to continue filming in Georgia if the bill takes effect. “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,” he said.
Sarandos issued a statement saying that Netflix has “many women working on productions in Georgia, whose rights, along with millions of others, will be severely restricted by this law. 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.”
Among the movies and shows that have been filmed in Georgia are several of Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe entries, “Stranger Things” and “Ozark” on Netflix, and “The Walking Dead” on AMC.
All together, Hollywood productions injected some $2.7 billion into Georgia’s economy in 2017, according to its governor’s office.