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How Disney And Netflix Helped Hollywood Battle Against Controversial Georgia Bill

How Disney And Netflix Helped Hollywood Battle Against Controversial Georgia Bill

Over the course of last week, a number of top Hollywood powerhouses banded together against a new “religious liberty bill” proposed by the state of Georgia. The bill would have extended protections to any faith-based entity that refused to perform services that "violate such faith-based organization's sincerely held religious beliefs."

In others words, critics say it allowed Georgia organizations the ability to withhold their services to members of the gay and lesbian community. Realizing this was essentially legalizing discrimination in the state, many asked Gov. Nathan Deal not to sign the deal when it crossed his desk.

The Veto And Narrowly Missed State Economic Concerns

On Monday, Gov. Deal did indeed veto the bill, but many wonder if Hollywood didn’t get involved what would have happened. The fact remains: It did happen, and Hollywood came in and made it clear in its eyes this was an unacceptable bill.

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While many simply asked the Governor to strike down the bill, companies like Walt Disney Co (NYSE: DIS) and Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) took it a step further. The pair threw down an ultimatum that if Deal signed the bill, the companies would pull projects from the state.

Between Disney’s popular Marvel films filming in the state capital and Netflix’s plans to shoot multiple series in the area throughout 2016 and beyond, this was no small threat and one deserving serious consideration.

These are two powerful companies, and neither company could afford to stand by and just be a voice in the crowd. Both companies' boards knew they had to go that extra step as being inclusive is in both brands’ DNA. This was a way to send a message to its investors that the companies had not and will not change.

Ultimately, the collective voices were heard and the Governor did make the right call for his state— as doing otherwise would have had a negative impact on Georgia's economy. Employment numbers, housing numbers and even tourism numbers were likely to drop dramatically if Hollywood boycotted.

During the fiscal year 2015 (July 1, 2014, to June 30, 2015) it’s been reported film and TV productions in Georgia spent over $1.7 billion in the state, which lead to $6 billion in economic impact.

Beyond Disney And Netflix

Sports giants such as the NFL and the NCAA have also made it clear that any state legalizing this type of bill would not be considered for high profile events like the Super Bowl and the Final Four.

Altogether, that would have been a big blow to the economy and in turn anybody who lives, works or invests in any company that calls Georgia home. Furthermore, this is a cautionary tale likely to result in other states’ carefully monitoring legislation and many investors scrutinizing over where they should invest.

Image Credit: Public Domain

Posted-In: Georgia LGBT LGBTQ Nathan DealNews Politics Legal General Best of Benzinga


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