Metro Weekly

Disney and Marvel to boycott Georgia if religious freedom bill passes

Disney and Marvel threaten to take business elsewhere should the bill pass

Walt_disney_pictures

Two more companies have joined the chorus of voices calling on Gov. Nathan Deal (R) to veto a bill that allows people to discriminate against LGBT people and same-sex couples under the guise of religious freedom.

The Walt Disney Co. and Marvel Studios announced their opposition to a measure known as the Pastor Protection Act, which allows clergy and religiously-affiliated groups to refuse to participate in a same-sex marriage, but also allows businesses, individuals and groups, even those that receive state funds, to deny goods or services to a variety of people who do not adhere to preferred sexual mores, including those who engage in extramarital sex, single mothers, LGBT people and same-sex couples.

Both companies have benefitted from tax incentives offered by the state of Georgia to film companies, with Marvel currently shooting “Guardians of the Galaxy 2” at Pinewood Studios, outside of Atlanta and having filmed “Captain America: Civil War” at the same location last year, Variety reports.

“Disney and Marvel are inclusive companies, and although we have had great experiences filming in Georgia, we will plan to take our business elsewhere should any legislation allowing discriminatory practices be signed into state law,” a spokesman for Disney said in a statement.

The Motion Picture Association of America previously denounced the legislation as “discriminatory,” with Vans Stevenson, MPAA’s senior vice president of state government affairs, expressing expressed confidence that Deal, who has expressed reservations about the bill, would not sign it into law. Deal has until May 3 to decide whether to approve or veto the measure.

The film industry’s opposition to the bill comes less than a week after Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin asked studios and production companies to cease production in the Peach State if the bill becomes law, whether with Deal’s signature or through a veto override. Griffin warned studios that their LGBT employees would be at risk if people are allowed to deny them service by claiming a religious exemption.

“This is wrong. It’s un-American. It’s an affront on all the values Hollywood prides itself on,” Griffin told a crowd comprised mainly of film industry employees at HRC’s Los Angeles gala on Saturday. “And you have the influence and the opportunity to not only defeat this bill, but to send a message that there are consequences to passing dangerous and hateful laws like this.”

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com