HRC President Calls on Showbiz to Shun Georgia if Governor Signs Religious Freedom Bill

Georgia legislature
Jason Grindle/Shutterstock

Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin urged studios and production companies to refuse to commit to any further productions in Georgia if Gov. Nathan Deal does not veto a pending religious liberty bill.

Griffin, speaking at the Los Angeles HRC Gala on Saturday, said that “if this bill is signed into law, your employees, your contractors, all those working on your production are at risk of state-sponsored discrimination. That is wrong, it’s un-American. It’s an affront on all the values Hollywood prides itself on.”

With one of the country’s most generous incentive packages, Georgia has emerged as one of the top production centers in the U.S.

Noting the presence of many figures from entertainment at the HRC event, Griffin said, “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. And so tonight, we’re asking you to join us as we urge TV and film studios, directors and producers, to commit to locating no further productions in the state of Georgia if this bill becomes law.”

Georgia legislators passed the bill earlier this week. It protects religious officials from having to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies, and would allow faith-based organizations to deny services or employment to those who violate their “sincerely held religious belief.”

Several weeks ago, Deal warned that he would reject any bill that he determined was legalized discrimination. But opponents say that the compromise reached this week will still permit discrimination against gays and lesbians.

On Friday, the NFL even warned that it would take such legislation into consideration when evaluating potential host cities for Super Bowl games. A number of corporations including Apple and Salesforce have come out against the bill.

As the bill moved through the legislature this year, it provoked some discussion in Georgia’s movie and TV production community over whether it could lead to companies shunning the state, as is what happened last year when Indiana passed a religious freedom bill. After companies threatened to cease doing business, the legislation was revised.

In addition to drawing a number of TV shows like “Vampire Diaries” and “The Walking Dead,” Georgia has become a production hub for mega-budget tentpole pictures. Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy 2” is shooting at Pinewood Studios, and “Captain America: Civil War” shot there last summer.

By some estimates the state has moved into the No. 3 position for production, behind California and New York. According to the state’s Dept. of Economic Development, $1.7 billion was spent on production in fiscal 2015. In 2007, it had been $132.5 million.

Deal, who has been a big booster of the state’s film and TV tax credit, has not said whether he would sign the revised legislation, but told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that it would be a “difficult decision.”

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  1. john says:

    With all the money the Governor and his buddies have been getting from Hollywood it’s any wonder what he’ll do.

  2. John DeYoung says:

    Sign it!!!

  3. jackdeth72 says:

    Yeah…. Good luck with that!

    Hollywood needs Georgia a Hell of a lot more than Georgia needs Hollywood!!!

  4. Frank Dorka says:

    Stop the abuse of privilege the Christians call an attack on freedom of religion.

  5. jcshiloh80 says:

    How sad when you have to threaten people to accept a chosen lifestyle such as the gay lifestyle. People who choose the Christian lifestyle should be as free as the people who have chosen the gay lifestyle.

    • Handylawman says:

      A chosen life style so your implying we are all born Bisexual when did you choose? You tell me how a four year old child chose to be gay at that age I knew I liked other boys I just didn’t the name of it or the sex side of it. It was not a choice and if you have a problem with it take it up with God let him know how wrong he was and is. It has only been in the last twenty years that people have been freer from the restraints that Christians put on them and forced them to live in seclusion in that dark empty little closet you have no idea what living hell is but you will find out about the one after life and whine like children now the shoe is on the other foot and you and people like you don’t like it.

      Let me clue you in on life you get what you give! Give love get love give hate get hate that’s the way it’s always been and always will be!

    • xtazc123 says:

      Being Gay isn’t a choice any more than being str8 is. People are Gay get over it !!

  6. Jeremiah Anderson says:

    Anti-religious freedom=Jesus Hating, Anti-Semitic, Islamophobia

    The HRC’s (Hateful Rhetoric Campaign) bigotry against people of faith is once again transparent. Same-sex marriage activists wish to compel everyone to be complicit in an objectively unethical act, the promotion of SSM over the interests of children and society.

    Are religious people being discriminatory? Yes, but the FACT is that the florists, photographers, and bakers who objected to participating in events they disagree with were discriminating between the proper application of society’s vital institution, marriage, and an improper one, SSM. This is not about discrimination against anyone with any particular sexual orientation.

    If you only support freedom of religion until you come up against religion you disagree with, you don’t support freedom of religion. The differences of belief don’t prove we should get rid of religious freedom laws, they prove our need for them. Why would we ever have needed a guarantee of freedom of religion in the Constitution if it weren’t the case that A) significantly different views exist, and B) human nature leads people to try to stamp out opposing views?

    The HRC’s opposition to free and open religion for all Georgians proves just how much we need these laws if we’re to continue to function as a diverse society.

    Let’s live in a diverse society. Support religious freedom over hysterical bigotry.

    • Handylawman says:

      Wrong dog!Y’all just getting back what ya gave and it don’t feel so good does it?
      Those laws the moronic states are writing will go by the wayside just like those foolish bans. What is it about equal treatment your species doesn’t get? Or are you a Religious Fascist and it’s all gotta be your way? You really wont be happy until religion is driven underground! That hysterical bigotry is the gift your kind gave and it’s just being returned to you! If you aren’t careful may file a suite against the federal Government for establishing religious holidays like Christmas and Easter no other religion has government shut down and most of America! You see how that push comes to shove or I could demand a national holiday for Satan or Wiccan you name it it’s wide open. It’s all about you!

    • Jaenelle says:

      No you idiot, the bill is ‘protecting’ religitards choice to fire and humiliate anyone of the LGBTQ+ community. Its saying that Slobby Lobby or dik-fil-a can fire an employee or refuse to serve someone just because they love someone of the same gender… we need bills opposite of this, bills protecting those of LGBTQ+ community from disgusting religitards like yourself.

  7. Paton Wilder says:

    We value our religion more than these money hungry businesses and the perverts who try to push their perversion on us.

  8. Ariela Topaz says:

    while I don’t agree with discrimination what I find strange is this comment: values Hollywood prides itself on.” Since when does Hollywood have any values anyways?

  9. Dalden Morse says:

    Everyone who despises the State of Georgias legislative action should write to them and tell them. And all industry should step back, regardless of what the Governor of Georgia does. the fact that the government elected by voters of the state don’t want to recognize gay America, as equal, in all respects, they don’t deserve anyones business, Period!

  10. RuhRoh says:

    Bigotry can be very costly…

  11. How much is all this “Religious Freedom ” B$ going to cost the Republicans before the United States Supreme Court kicks them in the A$$ for violating the United States Constitution, AGAIN!.
    The 1st Amendment:
    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances”

    If a law that grants people rights based on their religious beliefs isn’t a “law RESPECTING an establishment of religion”, what the #$%% is it?

  12. ChristopherATL says:

    The NFL, Apple, Home Depot, AT&T, Target, Microsoft, Porsche, Dell, American Airlines, Delta, Arby’s, SalesForce, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, American Heart Association, American Stroke Association, Atlanta Braves, Atlanta Hawks, Atlanta Falcons, Sotheby’s, Bank of America, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Chase, Cox Enterprises, Clear Channel Communcations, Dow, Embassy Suites, Equifax, Google, Honeywell, Marriott, Nordstrom, PNC, Ruth’s Chris, Suntrust, Synovus, MailChimp, Twitter, Turner Broadcasting, UPS, Verizon, Wells Fargo, with close to 500 other businesses are also speaking out against this. Good for corporate America!

  13. Kevin Thomas says:

    Does Israel have equal rights, can gays legally get married? These “executives ” probably support the hypocrisy over there.
    Christianity has been hijacked by pedophile sympathizers and is slowly being destroyed. There’s only one religion in the abrahamic religions that isn’t allowed to be criticized in the western world.

  14. lolly1 says:

    He said he wanted to ensure that the values that Hollywood holds to be upheld all over the US. Well the truth is that the values Hollywood espouses are not welcomed all over the US.

    • You want to compare the rights in the United States to the rights of another Country?
      Get your @$$%% out of the United States and move there.
      YOUR attitude is the one that’s destroying this County
      Christians keep SLAMMING it in peoples, they think they have special rights, they don’t.

    • Equality4All says:

      According to…you? Equal rights are a quality I believe most U.S. citizens are in favor of. A recent poll conducted in Georgia shows two thirds are in favor of equal rights and protections for the LGBT community.

  15. ChristopherATL says:

    This bill is not about clergy being forced to perform marriages. Although language in the bill emphasizes this right already protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution, further language keeps the LGBT community and any other person not deemed biblically worthy from accessing tax payer funded services, such as adoption services, homeless shelters, employment services, etc. This is the portion of the bill that we in Georgia are taking issue with. The LGBT community in Georgia, particularly Atlanta, is very large and our tax dollars are just as important to the state budget as anyone elses. They don’t mind taking our money but when it comes to equal access to these services, they want special exemptions. In essence, they are creating 21st century Jim Crow laws and pulling Georgia back to the 1950’s. It is a deplorable move to make the LGBT community pay for the SCOTUS ruling on marriage last year.

    I urge all corporate involvement with Georgia to send a clear message that discrimination of any kind is not acceptable. If you tax us equally, we should have equal representation and access to products and services to businesses and organizations those tax dollars and federal grants support.

    • ChristopherATL says:

      I also forgot to mention that medical service providers and religiously affifliated hospitals would also reserve the right to turn away people as well. There are parts of rural Georgia where these services are the only ones available. In the middle of a life threatening situation, no one should have to worry about this.

  16. Alex says:

    They’re funny, they want studios and production company’s that go to G.A. and all over southeast to save $ not to do that…funny

    • TTK says:

      They are nuts. It’s about saving money. I’d film in GA in a heartbeat for the savings and wouldn’t give it a second thought.

  17. Doug says:

    If I was governor the first time they would say something like that to me I’d sign, no questions asked. Take your ball and go home.

    • Jim says:

      Exactly. No pastor should be forced to marry anyone. How intolerant of the supposed HRC.

      • They already can choose whom they do and do not marry. They can turn away lifelong members of their own church if they want to. This bill changes nothing as far as clergy members but the Republicans know that most of their followers aren’t bright enough to know that.

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