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Georgia's highly restrictive abortion law spurs boycott by multiple film production companies

David Simon, creator of "The Wire," said his company will not work in Georgia "until we can be assured the health options and civil liberties of our female colleagues are unimpaired."
Image: Brian Kemp
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signs legislation on Tuesday banning abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected.Bob Andres / Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP

Multiple production companies have announced they will no longer film in Georgia after the state passed a restrictive abortion law.

The law, signed by Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, on Tuesday, bans abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which can be as early as six weeks, before some women even know they are pregnant.

Georgia has quietly become a major production location for film and television largely because of tax incentives the state offers.

In 2016, according to the nonprofit Film LA, 17 of the year’s top 100 films were produced in Georgia, more than California. Kemp said this year that the industry employs around 200,000 Georgians and brings in tens of billions of dollars of revenue to the state.

David Simon, creator of the “The Wire,” said his production company, Blown Deadline Productions, will cease filming in the state.

“Our comparative assessments of locations for upcoming development will pull Georgia off the list until we can be assured the health options and civil liberties of our female colleagues are unimpaired,” Simon tweeted Wednesday.

Mark Duplass, whose Duplass Brothers Production has a multifilm deal with Netflix, tweeted, “Don’t give your business to Georgia,” and asked other producers to join him.

While the announced boycott may be limited at this point, others in the film industry may join it.

CounterNarrative Films said it will no longer work in Georgia, and Christine Vachon, whose company, Killer Films, has produced Oscar-winning and nominated films like “Boys Don’t Cry” and “Carol,” tweeted that her company won’t film in Georgia “until this ridiculous law is overturned.”

In March, before the bill was signed into law, actress Alyssa Milano delivered a letter to Kemp and Georgia Speaker of the House David Ralston signed by 50 other actors saying, “We cannot in good conscience continue to recommend our industry remain in Georgia if HB 481 becomes law.”

Milano confirmed to BuzzFeed News she will honor the boycott now that the ban has been passed.

Georgia has been a filming location for the hugely successful Marvel franchise and the AMC show "The Walking Dead." NBC News reached out both to Marvel and AMC Studios for comment on their reaction to the new law and the boycotts and did not receive a response.

The Motion Picture Association of America said in a statement to Variety that it is monitoring the situation.

“It is important to remember that similar legislation has been attempted in other states, and has either been enjoined by the courts or currently being challenged,” the association said.