GLAAD Enlists Hollywood in Open Letter to States Over Anti-LGBT Laws

Glaad panel ATX
Courtesy of glaad

CAA, Netflix, Univision and Viacom are among the companies that have signed on to an open letter from GLAAD calling on states to reject “efforts to legalize discrimination,” citing a recently passed law in North Carolina and other legislation pending in other legislatures.

The Art Directors Guild, the National Assn. of Latino Independent Producers and SAG-AFTRA also signed on to the letter, which is being published on Tuesday as an ad in Variety.

“As representatives of our nation’s entertainment and media industry, we wish to express our profound disappointment in the proliferation of anti-LGBT legislation being considered across this great country,” the letter says. “By standing together — and alongside so many others who are speaking out from the corporate and business communities at the national, state and local levels — we hope to demonstrate that the kind of discrimination being proposed — and in some cases enacted — is simply unacceptable.”

Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD president and CEO, said that the goal of the letter was to “coalesce the entertainment industry and send a clear message that discrimination is not acceptable and it won’t be tolerated.”

She said that they expect more networks and studios to “sign on and stand with the LGBT community.”

After Georgia’s legislature passed a religious liberty last month, a number of studios and media companies issued statements urging Gov. Nathan Deal to veto it. Disney and Marvel said that they would choose to shoot elsewhere if the bill became law. Deal rejected the bill.

But other states have been considering legislation or have passed bills that have triggered a backlash from LGBT groups as well as businesses. North Carolina’s new law that invalidates local anti-discrimination protections for LGBT individuals caused Bruce Springsteen to cancel a concert in that state. Bryan Adams dropped plans for a concert this week in Mississippi, where a religious liberty bill is set to go into effect on July 1.

GLAAD on Monday held a press conference with the Tennessee Equality Project in Nashville to urge musicians and other performers to speak out against pending legislation. One bill would allow counselors and therapists to refuse to serve a client whose goals and behaviors conflict with religious beliefs. Another would require that transgender students use the school bathroom assigned to the gender on their birth certificate.

In the letter, the Hollywood entities said that more than 100 bills targeting LGBT people have been introduced in states and cities across the country.

“The results of such laws taking effect across the nation makes it difficult to attract and retain workers, grow local and state economies, and bring top talent to schools and universities — all of which our communities depend on for sustainability,” the letter states. “Finally, it undermines the core values of the companies we represent and those of a majority of this nation’s most successful and profitable businesses.”