AT&T's WarnerMedia has joined Disney and Netflix to stand against Georgia's anti-abortion bill, according to Reuters. A spokesperson for parent company AT&T said it will reconsider Georgia as the "home to any new productions", if the "heartbeat" bill comes into effect. In such an instance, the telecommunications company added that it will work with its production partners and talent to determine alternative locations and methods to shoot just like any other projects.
According to various media outlets, Walt Disney chief executive Bob Iger also expressed doubts that it will keep filming in Georgia if the bill comes to pass, describing the move as very difficult and unpractical. Expecting that many of its employees would be reluctant to work there, he said that the company will be heeding the wishes of its employees, and keep a watch on the development of the bill meanwhile. The company's past projects in Georgia include blockbuster movies, "Black Panther" and "Avengers: Endgame".
The move follows Netflix's which was seen as one of the first few media companies to campaign against Georgia's bill, much to the approval of industry players. Besides rethinking its investment in the state, it will also work with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and others to fight for women’s rights in court. Communications professionals that Marketing spoke to said the bold move could lead to higher loyalty from Netflix's community, despite a handful who may be alienated as a result. Such a move was also deemed as justifiable, given the deep involvement of media players in Georgia. While brands have steered away from controversies in the past, more are increasingly taking a stand on hot-button issues to resonate with their target audience, they noted.
The reactions from the media companies come after many personalities in the media industry protested against the bill, including directors, writers, actors and actresses. Notably, Actor and host Busy Philipps also fronted an advertisement for ACLU where Philipps says, “You know me. You know someone like me. I had an abortion. It was my decision. Today, it’s my right. But states are trying to take that right away by taking on Roe v. Wade, and Trump is making it possible.” The project saw an outpouring of support on Twitter according to ACLU, with some 90,000 users sharing their story with #YouKnowMe.
The "heartbeat" bill, which bans abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, was signed on 7 May. The filming industry is big for Georgia, which draws in many film-makers with its favourable tax incentives.