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Stacey Abrams Asks Hollywood Not to Boycott Georgia in Light of Election Defeat

Stacey Abrams lost her bid to become the next governor of Georgia, but does not want the entertainment industry to boycott the state over the election of its new governor, Brian Kemp.

Bradley Whitford and Alyssa Milano are among the showbiz figures who have called for a boycott of the state, citing claims of voter suppression and that the election was overseen by Kemp, who was Georgia’s secretary of state. In ending her bid on Friday, Abrams said that she would pursue a federal lawsuit over “a gross mismanagement of this election and to protect future elections from unconstitutional actions.”

Abrams, however, said that a boycott of the state by the film and TV business would hurt the growing workforce of industry professionals. Georgia is now the center of major tentpole production in the United States, having given out about $800 million in tax credits in fiscal year 2017.

“I appreciate the calls to action, but I ask all of our entertainment industry friends to support #FairFightGA – but please do not #boycottgeorgia. The hard-working Georgians who serve on crews & make a living here are not to blame. I promise: We will fight – and we will win,” Abrams wrote on Twitter.

During the campaign, Abrams did warn voters that Kemp would jeopardize the growth of the film and TV tax credit program because he said, if elected governor, he would sign religious freedom legislation if it reached his desk. In 2016, when a religious freedom bill passed out of the state legislature, studios like The Walt Disney Co. and Marvel Entertainment threatened to boycott the state if the governor signed it. Nathan Deal, a Republican, vetoed it.

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Kemp has said that he supports a watered down version of the religious freedom legislation that would mirror the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, signed by President Bill Clinton in 1993. He also said that he supports the current production incentive program.

Milano said in a tweet that “there are over 20 productions shooting in Georgia. Is the entertainment industry willing to support the economy of a totally corrupt state that suppresses democracy; where the winner isn’t the best choice for the people but the best schemer or crook?”

Whitford wrote in a tweet on Nov. 8 that if Kemp “seizes power, Hollywood needs to use it’s leverage and pull out of Georgia. Studios need to put their money where their mouth is and stand up to hate.”

Other industry figures, like Judd Apatow and David Simon, also chimed in.

“Said it earlier when they were tossing 1000s off voter rolls: If you have a film production & deliver it to a state no longer operating as a democracy, shame on you. Blown Deadline is small taters, but has a project that needs a Southern clime. Not GA. Not now. #StepUpHollywood,” Simon wrote in a tweet.

Abrams drew significant support from the entertainment industry, and such boldfaced names as Will Ferrell and Oprah Winfrey campaigned for her. In a pair of appearances, Winfrey focused her speech on voting rights, telling one audience that “every single one of us, every single one of us has the same power at the polls. And every single one of us has something that if done in numbers too big to tamper with cannot be suppressed and cannot be denied.”

In an appearance on Saturday, Kemp said that “it’s been a long, tough process. I certainly appreciate Stacey Abrams’ tenacity, how hard she worked, the campaign that she ran. She was a very tough competitor, but I am very proud of what we did as well.”

He also defended the election’s integrity, saying that “our elections are not only secure. They are accessible.”

He said that officials with the Secretary of State’s office are “following the law. If people don’t like the law, then we need to work as a legislative body and the executive branch as governor to change that.”

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