While admitting he doesn’t support a new Georgia law that bans abortion once a fetal heartbeat has been detected and recognizes unborn babies as persons, movie mogul Tyler Perry says he won’t be joining others in Hollywood who are boycotting the state.
“Atlanta has been the dream. It has been the promised land,” Perry told The Associated Press on Friday, explaining why he couldn’t “just up and leave” filming in Georgia.
“So when I got here, this whole state and city has been amazing to me and I wouldn’t trade that for anything. Also, I put $250 million in the ground here and in the studio. So when you have a quarter of a billion dollars sat down in the ground, you can’t just up and leave,” he said.
Georgia’s abortion law bans all abortions at six weeks and older except when a doctor has confirmed a pregnancy is “medically futile,” to protect the life of the mother in a medical emergency, and in the case of rape or incest, if a police report has been filed.
As The Christian Post previously reported, several major media and film companies, including Disney and Netflix, have threatened to move movie projects out of the state if the law goes into effect in January 2020.
“We have many women working on productions in Georgia, whose rights, along with millions of others, will be severely restricted by this law,” Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer, told Variety. “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.”
More than 300 new businesses have relocated or expanded into Georgia to support the entertainment-industry boom Market Watch reported. State officials also estimate that 455 film and projects completed in Georgia last year added $9.5 billion into the local economy. Some $2.7 billion from that amount was direct spending.
The Motion Picture Association of America, a trade association that represents the five major film studios in Hollywood, said the movie and television industry accounts for more than 92,100 jobs and almost $4.6 billion in total wages in Georgia.
Despite his decision not to join the boycott, Perry said that he thinks workers in the film and television industry will show their opposition loudly at the polls.
“What I know about this industry is that there are 94,000-plus or 98,000 people who are in this industry and who are benefiting from it greatly,” he said. “And that’s a lot of votes. I’m in a wait and see moment right now. But that’s a lot of votes. That’s a lot of votes that can determine an election.”